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Ten Tips for a successful career…plus a one extra late edition!

Ten Tips I picked up this week from a very successful retiring academic colleague about securing a long and successful professional life:
1. “If you live long enough- things happen” – you’ll need endurance and tenacity
2. Make sure you can recognise luck when it comes along and don’t waste the opportunity it brings with it
3. Have broad interests – look beyond your own discipline and always be ready to learn
4. Travel
5. Networks are everything – build strong networks
6. Find innovative ways to manage difficult people
7. Choose your battles carefully – let some things ride…
8. Take risks…
9. For academics…Remember: Teaching pays the bills!
10. Be nice to people – listen to them… hear them… be quick to say thank you.

an 11th has been added by another highly regarded sage academic (retired) – Do not forget to privilege research and publication. Sequester time for this and guard it ferociously. So easy for it to be eaten into. Create research groups.

….and my observation to add to this list… wash all down with plenty of ‘faith’ and confidence in yourself/your abilities… and a moderate amount of Shiraz!


#headspace & #MentalHealth reform for #rural Australian young people. #nurses #heretohelp

At the moment, the media is laden with calls for reform for youth mental health in Australia. My research informs the debate:

My research specifically addressed the problem of rural young people accessing mental health care. Following one Masters (Hons) and one PhD examination of the problem, I have formed some evidence-based views on ways forward: Here is an extract (Thesis Chapter 5: pages195-197) one that relates to headspace and the potential nurses have to be a more effective contributors to early mental health care if funds were redirected from headspace for a more equitable distribution to help young rural people:

         Implications for policy…

  • The national mental health strategy headspace, does not currently possess the capacity to be extended to every rural community in Australia. E-headspace does have some scope to contribute a useful component to a rural youth mental health strategy if rural e-mental health knowledge brokers are available in community rural nursing settings or Medicare Local centres to facilitate this strategy in the rural environment.
  • The headspace initiative should be reviewed by the Department of Health and Ageing with an aim to facilitate the redistribution of federal funds to include a contribution to the operational costs of rural nurses to act as e-mental health knowledge brokers for young rural people on a per capita basis, so that at least population-based equity of distribution of youth mental health financial resources is available in all communities, rather than, as is currently the case, restricted to one service centre in one regional community in the study site region.
  • Further reform of youth mental health services is required to ensure that rural young people have reasonable access to mental health services in keeping with international progress and development about youth mental health services that challenge the traditional paradigms of youth mental health service delivery (Coughlan et al., 2011, 2013). There is wide agreement in the literature that young Australian people are underserviced in early mental health care, and that for rural young people this circumstance is further amplified (Coughlan et al., 2011; Mendoza et al., 2013; Rickwood, 2012; S. P. Rosenberg & Hickie, 2013).
  • Rural nurses should be adequately funded to support e-mental health kiosks in appropriate community settings such as hospitals, multi-purpose health facilities, community agencies, schools and police stations. Rural nurses are able to collaborate with professionals from all of these sectors in such a way that collaboration of mental health helping and capacity building in rural communities is achieved and coordinated. The architects of health, social and law policy will need to accommodate the inclusion of new and innovative roles in the future. In particular, the function, role description of rural nurses, and specifically the role of rural community nurses will need to be expanded so that meaningful mental health help can be provided to early mental health help-seekers.

In press now:

Wilson, R.L. & Usher, K. (2015) Rural nurses: A convenient co-location strategy for rural mental health care of young people. Journal of Clinical Nursing. (in press April 2015).

#nurses #heretohelp

#Research2015 . Days 2&3 in Nottingham @RCN Nursing Conference

Such a buzz to spend with international nursing colleagues – all gathered for the same reason… to improve the delivery of nursing care to people…

300 nursing brains all turned to nursing excellence… that has got to be good for world health!

The digital impact of our discussions is sizzling hot… there are countries smaller than our impact!

5,545,572 Impressions
4,916 Tweets
579 Participants
51 Avg Tweets/Hour
Avg Tweets/Participant

A few highlights:

Professor Siobhan Nelson (Canada) urged us to think about how we describe our work as nurses – simple but challenging – because the way we allow ourselves to be described influences how others will describe and collaborate with us… My tweet:

matters . How we describe ourselves will influence how others describe us too.

I was inspired by Shirley Baah-Mensah, who reminded nurses in minority groups to aspire to success. My tweet:

We have to be brave, have courage to make thing better for the future:equal in value, no matter what their color -Mensah

Dr Kay Currie from Glasgow described the use of nominal group techniques to build a survey instrument… that got me thinking! I got a little distracted by some creepily disturbing entomology though…

Andrew Grundy presented soem mental health research findings about Mental Health care planning that struck a chord… my tweet:

talks abt #care#planning being abt what the provider needs, not serviceusers’

Prof Lesley Wilkes presented some disturbing research findings… very confronting – commendable research. Must have been hard for the researchers to keep hearing about the topic over and over again – but yet an important contribution to improve nursing knowledge and practice. My tweet:

Confronting but needed: Results of 1st study in Australia abt experiences of among African migrant woman

Professors: Carole Haigh, Debra Jackson and Graeme Smith share some very useful tips about the job of a peer reviewer… very helpful tips…

At the end of April 22, 2015

“>day two… still smiling!

Day three… My presentation day…. two presentations done and dusted. Thank you to the nurses that came and asked interested questions and engaged with my work – much appreciated. 🙂 Here are some tweets by others about my work:








… super engagement… have had a great time – thinking, considering, scheming, plotting and planning abotu future research to continue to contribute to a better future for nursing and for our patients…

and – kind of got invited back I guess

Edinburgh 2016… book me in!

About Nursing: At the RCN in Nottingham, UK – Day One

I love the buzz of a nursing conference… I am attending this one:

These days – a prerequisite to getting the most out of conference attendance is making sure you have a Twitter handle – here is mine @rhondawilsonmhn You need one of these so you can follow the Twitter concurrent Twitter conversation which extends the discussions a great deal. Conferences usually have a hashtag to follow… this one is #research2015. Putting the hashtag in the twitter search engine and saving it allows you to visit and participate in the conversation. I think I got about 25 new followers yesterday alone by doing this – that extends my professional network and puts me in touch with nursing colleagues around the world. Meeting people #IRL (In Real Life) is then made easier – because you already have had an introduction connection. Here are the social media analytics for yesterday!

2,074,580  Impressions
1,860  Tweets
307  Participants
78  Avg Tweets/Hour
6  Avg Tweets/Participant

My twitter network started to expand at breakfast yesterday with meeting Dr Camille Cronin from Essex –@CamilleCronin – sharing some ideas about nursing scholarship.

Then – at registration, caught up with a colleague that I first met on Twitter a couple of years ago (in Perth Australia!)… We follow each other on Twitter… a mental health nurse academic @AustynSnowden from Scotland.

My own Colleagues from Australia turned up next… (we Australians have a radar to find each other in a crowd!) @KimUsher3 , @debraejackson , @LizHalcomb , and Prof Lesley Wilkes… all great to see.

Then the snowballing commenced! So many interesting people to meet over coffee and so many mints to collect in exhibition area.

Day one (yesterday) 20 April, 2015 was a buzz! Here are my highlights from the sessions:

The big theme shining though: The essential and most valued work of nursing are the invisible interventions, actions, the caring, the listening, the being with and sitting with, the provision of kindness and comfort, being engaged and present… those are the nursing attributes that matter to our patients. Nursing is not limited to bunch of skills: how well we can write our notes, administer a pill, insert a tube… it is about how we engage when we are doing the technical work… Very motivational.

  • Prof Jill Maben spoke about the soulless factories of healthcare… and called for a humanising of health care for patients and nurses…a refreshing reminder to value the listening and being with our patients – to engage, connect and care. My tweet:

 Love the idea of applying to

  • Aussie Nurse, Elizabeth McCall – presented her research findings about brief interventions to address alcohol harms in a rural A&E department… she urged ED nurses to take the opportunity to ensure that they deliver appropriate brief interventions in A&E. A good qualitative study by a research active practitioner. My Tweet:

McCall says doesn’t support 2 conduct adequately:system needs reform

  • Then – off to hear Dr Paul Gill (Cardiff) give a great presentation encouraging Nurse PhD success. My tweet:

Packed audience hear about how to do a such strong interest in nursing scholarship -bodes well

  • Jill Taylor (somewhere in Scotland) gave a impassioned presentation of her PhD about the work of Health Visitor nursing and the emotional labour involved – the stories in her data were compelling listening. My Tweet:

research: designed to support systems rather than assist to build resilience

  • Prof Lesley Wilkes (Australia) gave a fascinating report of her research about the experience of Refugee Health Nurses working in NSW, Australia. Loved this one… and really made me think… I wondered how it might be if the Refugee Health Nurses of the future had their own lived experiences of asylum seeking…
  • John McKinnon (Lincoln, UK,) spoke about empathy… my pick of the day… I was glued to the whole presentation – the ways that nurses use empathy as a vital nursing intervention is a critical nursing experience… I heard a rumour he has a book coming out…. I will be lining up to buy it!
  • Austyn Snowden gave a terrific presentation about the challenges of achieving ethics approvals – very impressive presentation: View it here

The bar has been set high… Day two is about to start… I am inspired by my colleagues and the company I am in here…

…. no Robin Hood sightings yet… 

#mentalhealth #nurses #heretohelp

Last night the media revealed a government mental health report that highlights the need for improved funding of community based mental health services in Australia, triggering a diverse social media conversation about some of the pertinent issues.

Key highlights include people reporting:

  • barriers to accessing mental health care
  • major challenges when seeking mental health care for the first time
  • being turned away from mental health care when help was needed
  • suicides related to lack of timely access or followup to mental health care
  • the suicide rate has been largely steady in Australia for many years – a failure to reduce mortality
  • recognition that suicide is preventable – and especially so if we can improve access and point of care service delivery for mental health help seekers

A recommendation from the leaked report is reportedly that a significant investment be injected into improving community based mental health services. This is a good idea. It is not a new idea – there have been many advocates and voices bringing forth this suggestion. More mental health professionals at the the cutting edge – in primary health and in community health and other settings. More investment in helping young people – enabling their care, not inserting more barriers and waiting until they become so unwell that hospitalisation is the only choice. Community mental health care is a poorly funded and barely accessible – unless you get lucky. Luck is not a sustainable commodity on which to base the ongoing mental health of the population. The social media discussion is one that should generate some pressure to release the report to the public and to invite the public to generate new ideas to address the challenges of providing a fair, equitable and accessible mental health service to the population.

Here are some of the links to the recent social media conversation:

on twitter:

Mental health nurses have a great deal to contribute to the development of improved models of mental health care delivery for Australia, and they need to leading and consulting in the current debate. Some are bring more prominence to the debate by reminding the community that mental health nurses are here to help, an that they should not be overlooked in the develop of new models, policy and governance. mental health nurses should be included as full members of committees that seek to bring progress and improvement to what many are terming a ‘broken service’ (mental health service). Using the hashtag #heretohelp , nurses are advocating for inclusion and for improvement. If you see a #heretohelp hashtag – consider retweeting it or sharing it to show support for mental health nurses.

Nurses do an amazing job working to care and prevent many deaths caring for people with a wide range of mental health problems. In our acute services they are working with people in crisis and restoring many people to health and wellness. Among health professionals – nurses are the great proportion of clinicians caring for people with mental illness. That position gives nurses an important perspective on the delivery of mental health care. Nurses need to be listened to, and their work considered carefully in future planning.

I am a mental health nurse, bucket loads of clinical experiences and plenty of research experience as well… I have published work that makes recommendations for improving the delivery of mentla health care to rural people… here are soem of my ideas and recommendations in this portfolio of papers:

I am #heretohelp  – join me!

Australia addresses methamphetamine problem with a taskforce

Some good news this morning in Australia as the Government announces the setting up of a new task force to address the the health, social and justice problems associated with methamphetamine use.

Assistant Health Minster, Fiona Nash, says that the mental health problems associated with ice  use in rural areas is increasing. It is timely to be addressing this matter now

More detail here:

Selected mental health video compilation for health professionals & students

This blog is a compilation of a ‘google’ mental health brains trust… a selection of mental health videos for improving the  understanding of mental health for health professions and students. There is no particular order or pattern, purely selected as an overview or starting point for people interested in learning more about mental health generally. It is offered as an introduction to an important topic of interest to people all over the world, to assist in reducing stigma and increasing general understanding of mental health issues.

Video one: A global perspective:

Vikram Patel  – TED TALK

  • Mental illness is a global health problem.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death fro young people globally.
  • mental illness accounts for 15% of global burden of disease.
  • WHO reports 400-500 million people affected by mental health problems.
  • Despite good and robust treatments (eg pharmacological, social and psychological) a treatment gap is 50-90% of affected people.
  • Global shortage of mental health professionals.

Video two: A lived experience of psychosis

Elyn Saks  – TED TALK

  • A legal scholar shares her experiences of Schizophrenia.
  • a great definition of schizophrenia
  • excellent description of the components that make up an experience of schizophrenia.
  • people first – never describe a person as a ‘schizophrenic’ – rather a ‘person with schizophrenia’.

Video three: The lived experience of depression

 JD Schramm – TED TALK

  • a very short report on the experience of attempting suicide and then choosing to live.
  • deciding to live can be a struggle and people need and want support and resources to help through this time.

Video four: Police dealing with suicide attempts 

Kevin Briggs -TED TALK

  • Challenge – what would you do if someone you knew was considering suicide?
  • What happens when you open Pandora’s box and you discover hope is missing.
  • Be ready to listen?
  • If you think someone is suicidal? Don’t be afraid to ask directly.
  • Signs of suicidal thinking and planning.

Video five: Autism – the extra-ordinary

Faith Jegede

  • the lived experience of siblings with autism

Video six Psychosis animation


  • an account of the the experience of psychosis presented as an animation.

Video seven: a nursing student placement experience

Birmingham City University

  • what to expect on a mental health nursing student placement.

Video eight: community mental health nursing

Western Trust 

  • description of the role of community mental health nurse.

Video nine: Mental health. A person centred approach

Cambridge University Press

  • a text book for mental health professions students

Video ten: 1/100th of me – Craig


  • challenging stigma

Video eleven: 1/100th of me – Katrina


  • challenging stigma  – young people.

Video twelve: 1/100th of me -Amy


  • challenging stigma – young rural person.

Video thirteen: Mental Health in Australia

2012 report card

  • Professor Alan Fells
  • Professor Patrick McGorry
  • Barbara Hocking

Video fourteen: Youth mental health


  • an explanation of the headspace model for youth mental health in Australia

Video fifteen: Youth suicide risk assessment

Uni SA – Professor Nicholas Proctor

  • An excellent example of assessing a young person following panadol overdose

Video sixteen: Typical neuroleptics


  • This post is for mental health nurses -especially those in developing countries where first generation anti psychotics medications are commonly used. A youtube lecture about haloperidol administration

Video seventeen: Suicide risk assessment: young man

A suicide risk assessment interview with a young man within hours of trying to end his life

Video eighteen: A collection of conference presentations from the International Association of Early Psychosis Tokyo 2014.

The latest research reports about innovation and best practice fro early psychosis

… the list will go on! feel free to send me any tips on other great mental health videos to add to the compilation!

Top 5 reasons I’ll follow you on Twitter

Top 5 reasons I’ll follow you on Twitter.

Check out this blog ^ by Research Whisper … Twitter is a fantastic resource – but yes, you have to invest something of yourself into it to make it work…

The only point of difference for me is I am perhaps a bit more flexible with my following decisions. I am happy to follow back novice twitter nurses in particular, to assist with introducing them to nursing colleagues in the Twittersphere. Just like IRL (in real life), networking relies on investing some relationship and by gaining introductions to key stakeholders. My followship is substantial enough to enable me to ‘play nice’ enough to give others a hand along the way. So – if you appear authentic after I run my checks, and you are interested in conversations about #nursing #mentalhealth #ruralhealth #Indigneoushealth #wellbeing #research #academic #HDR … and your not trying to flog me your latest commercial book or product, or your not trying to sell me (or my followers) something – I will probably follow up back! What I will be very interested in is sharing knowledge, transferring health knowledge to real people and situations – so I will always be keen to promote scholarship (peer reviewed) whether it is mine or others. Why? Because I think it is critical to get new ideas out in the public domain – so ideas about improving the world get out where they matter… accessible to the general public and part of the conversation…

Let’s tweet!

Experiences of families who help young rural men with emergent mental health problems in a rural community in New South Wales, Australia.