Tagged: nurses

Open access journal papers about health & social media

Thanks for the Collegian, a nursing journal, who are taking the lead with a discussion about social media and health with open access on recent journal papers by my colleagues and I – here they are for your easy click and free download:

Nurses and Twitter


Australian health profession students use of social media

Let us know what you think! 

Registered Nurse from South Sudan call for peace

Registered Nurse from South Sudan call for peace

A message from my friend RN Chol Deng: “I need to get the message out there… My home town back home (South Sudan) is in “state of emergency” innocent civilians have been hiding in the bush since Monday due to violence that broke out on Sunday with no water or food”.
As a mental health nurse – my heart goes out to those who are hiding in the bush in fear of their life and without access to basic goods and services. Lets spread the word – people need to choose peace – it won’t just happen…. peace needs to be pursued and practiced. Chol is right – it is a behaviour and an action that needs to be lived out in the lives of us all…. and especially in South Sudan. Let’s help Chol get the ‘word out’. Standing with him in choosing peace and shunning war. Share, like, tweet …etc! Please!


Shiny new text book – Mental health. A person-centred approach.

Shiny new text book - Mental health. A person-centred approach.

Received an advance copy of my new book today – smells new, looks shiny….. so pleased with the result and very chuffed to have worked with other mental health experts on this book – Nicholas Proctor, Helen Hamer, Denise McGarry, (Me), and Terry Froggatt. Available to the Public from January 2014. Link for more details direct from publishers – Cambridge University Press.

Chocolate survival in the presence of health professionals- a threatened commodity!

Chocolate survival in the presence of health professionals- a threatened commodity!

Proof at last….. Nurses love chocolate gifts….and they prefer Roses over Quality Street! This is important information for anyone who knows a nurse, because now you know what to give that person for Christmas!!!!!

Scientific evidence allows you to be assured that within about 5 minutes the nurse recipient will have ripped open the box and within 1 1/2 hours he or she will have consumed about a third of a boxful of chocolates…. then they slow down the pace of consumption a little but this should be seen as a lack of gratitude but rather – the data seems to indicate that by about a third of a box of consumption… nurses (and other health professionals)simply tend to continue their consumption at a slightly reduced rate! The researchers only used a 350 gram box… it is unknown if the size of the box really matters – so you might be best advised to try a range of sizes….. perhaps bigger is better (a future study perhaps!)

Surely some replication in Australian settings would contribute further important disciplinary information! Thanks to Kim Usher for the share of this scholarly journal article. 

Merry Christmas! Hope the survivor-ship of your Christmas chocolates is all that you would want it to be  -and your ‘decay’ curve is mitigated! 

Shades of Brown “Out West”

Out West for the weekend….. about 4 hours west of where I live in Northern NSW, Australia.

I have just completed some research in the same region about the emergent mental health problems of young rural people… I was looking forward to the drive, as an opportunity to reflect on the full cycle of the research project. I have been bunkered down in my office writing up the research report, so an opportunity to reconnect with the breath of the study region was especially appealing. But, what I saw, made me think more….. about how much mental health prevention, promotion and recovery supports are needed in drought affected rural communities.

It occurred to me that the colour of depression is brown…shades of brown. And the insidious slow slide from green to brown is exactly what happens to the collective mood as well. A heaviness sets in that is hard to shake off… perhaps the ‘black dog’ in the bush is actually a ‘brown cattle dog’…

In good times – things look good, and feel good and then slowly, very slowly the shades of brown start to set in, and the creep of the dry brown continues on the land, and in the mind.

Watching the stock trying to find a blade of grass, wandering in search of something to eat  is a sad creeping feeling…. and that same creep surges into the small towns and villages on the farming fringes. The shades of brown; the moods of brown seep into the main streets, and downturns in the retail and hospitality sector appear obvious… the $2 shops thrive with mountains of plastic crates for sale,and the boutique stores fade away, some to empty shops and dilapidated signs. The bubbling social hubs of clubs and pubs where ‘everyone’ gathers starts to lose some pizzazz…. and the towns start to look sad…. it is hard, very hard.

I couldn’t help but notice in one town that the only thriving sector seemed to be the great big and polished-looking police station, with lots of police… and that made me think too…

I saw a proliferation of smashed windows, boarded up  buildings, wire mesh over windows and doors, more prominent then before…. the broken window phenomenon escalating…. community hope and well-being in downward spiral… I suspect.

Drought has set in, a few rain showers here and there are just not enough….the landscape was looking dry, the only green was found in the prolific thorn bush… not good for anything. We spotted a paddock full of nothing but thistle…. the Plains were sparse; some of the stock thin, and plenty of road-kill kangaroo along the way.

A few reflections that put my research back in to perspective for me… the need to advocate for sufficient mental health care for rural people is crucial….

When the stock needs to be grazed in the ‘long paddock‘ and drovers watch and live with their stock on the roadsides to take advantage of the remnants of vegetation on the road side verges….it is a sign that times are tough. The difficulties seep through all layers of rural society. And when it does, that is when local communities need their local nurses…. to take the time to listen, to pay attention to the burdens of the shades of brown, to care… to monitor mental health of the local people, to intervene in time to make a difference

I am cheering on the rural nurses from Out West… they are important social capital in rural communities…. they have a big job ahead I suspect…

some photos…

cattle onthe roadgatelucerne slashedsheep grazing along roadside

Plain packaging for fast food? The global obesity crisis

Plain packets for fast food

What if we decided that fast food should be plain packaged with graphic health warnings like cigarette package now is  in Australia? A Fast Food Plain Packaging Act?

Some of the reasons we now force the plain packaging of cigarettes:

  • to make them less attractive to  adults and children
  • to ensure that advertising is not misleading and that there is no confusion about the health implications for consumers
  • to provide health warning on the packaging
  • to amplify the health warnings

Exactly the same messages could be echoed for fast food. I am thinking of especially the large companies who mass produce fast foods…. you know who they are…. they are dominated by bright attractive colours in their ‘restaurants’, and on their packaging…they include ‘nutritional facts’ on their labels (that you need a magnifying glass to read). They have cheap options to lure the cash poor….and they have meal deals and family meal deals which include fizzy sugary drinks to the mostly fried mix!

It is not rocket science   – this stuff…hard to refer to it as food! This stuff is really, really bad for people to consume. It directly causes BAD health.  There is a clear and obvious cause and effect….. if you eat a lot of fast food + sugary drinks you will get fat, have cardiac disease, diabetes, diminished mental health… the list goes on…. other blog posts of mine have discussed food security and the excess of poor quality food…

Fast food is addictive – our brains crave the saturated and transfats, and the more we have…the more we crave. It is fact.

Can we provide conditions that change the environment, help our brains and the brains of our children and young people to be less attracted to fast food? Would plain packaging and plain signage restrictions make a difference? I.m not sure that the evidence is out there to say it would help…. but in terms of health, I can’t see that it would do any harm to try!

Here is some more food for thought … a compilation of conversations that made me think more about this issue over the last few days…

fat map…

Could this map explain in part world obesity….The global obesity crisis. A few big companies that produce of lot of processed foods high in fats and sugars? What would happen if we stopped buying this stuff? Would it matter to health? and how would that shape society? What items should/could be plain packaged? Are there incentives that could be in place to promote fun and enticing packaging of low processed foods?


I watched  ABC TV show  Four Corners  Supersizing India’s kids  the other night…. As a health professional, I found it profoundly disturbing on so many levels…. watch for yourself! Kid’s obese… vulnerable…. surgery (and the health industry) exploiting them with expensive and invasive interventions (gastric bands and worse), without using other less invasive interventions first. Kid’s undergoing major gastric surgery… that can only end badly. Where are the nurses??? Why are they not taking some leadership in promoting health, reducing poor health….. ????  Why are they not advocating for safe health promotion and interventions for these kids…. ??? (AND – a big thumbs down to the surgeon who slapped the abdomen of a child while he was under anesthetic…. BIG thumbs down. Where was the nurse then????)

closer to home…

Kind of in my back yard…. a few blocks from where I live, an 18 year old young woman died from obesity in the last year. Devastating… so sad. So preventable… but help was needed. A few blocks from were I live major fast food ‘restaurants’ thrive… cars cue to ‘drive through’… so sad. The smell of the oils bubbling away saturate the air to those who walk by… enticing  the brains of young people with their neurochemical lures… Here in rural Australia, where we grow fresh food, produce it for the nation and the world, where idyllically healthy living can be had in bucket loads…. we have our own fast food crisis. Where are the nurses? …advocating for health?

it all makes me think….

What can be done… to reduce the fast food led health demise in my town, in my country… in my world?

Perhaps every little bit might help and is worth trying…. why not plain packaging for fast food ? I am a nurse – it is in my professional DNA to advocate for health, especially for vulnerable people  such as kids and young people, who sometimes can’t yet do that for themselves. I live in rural Australia…. it sharpens my mind to the needs of rural young people…. and to also advocate for their health.

We need fitter bodies and sharper minds in rural communities – we need less enticement to consume fast food which reduces physical and mental health. I say –  Keep the packaging plain. Add health warnings to the packages, and include photos of horrendous consequences of prolonged consumption. Just like we do for cigarettes – see what happens…

Too controversial? or, on the money? Debate welcome!