Stuck for words? 10 ways to get unstuck! #300wordson3daysfor3weeks

Do you get stuck for words… or find that you are over using a word… however nice it sounds, or clever it seems?

Where can you find other words… when you need them. It can be especially challenging if you are writing in English language, but it is not your first language…Here are some websites to trigger your imagination and help you find the right word to describe the mental health phenomenon you are writing about!

  1. Dictionary…
  2. Thesaurus… 
  3. Colour thesaurus…
  4. Number thesaurus…
  5. Emotions thesaurus…
  6. Bloom’s taxonomy…
  7. Medical dictionary of health terms…
  8. Mental health glossary…
  9. WHO’s lexicon of mental health terms…
  10. Glossary of psychological terms…


#300words & writers block? Ten remedies

#virtualwritingworkshop #300wordson3daysfor3weeks

Have you hit a writing roadblock already?
Here is how to fix it!
Remedy: read more about your topic, search for relevant literature.
When it is hard to write about a topic, sometimes it is because your understanding of the topic is too limited. So, the best way forward is to read more… here is how:
  1. Read more widely – find some new sources about your topic… a different journal from a different publisher than the one you usually select from! Broaden your horizons – just be sure that you are not selecting from a weak or unreliable source or publisher. Try a different database…
  2. Ask your librarian to help you with a search for relevant sources… they will probably be able to surprise you with a new search strategy… they are experts in finding the right literature to match the right question.
  3. Review the reference list of your already gathered literature… are there some articles that you have overlooked that might also be helpful.
  4. Visit the WHO mental health  website they have some interesting mental health publications that might widen your approach to the topic.
  5. Ask yourself about the setting/context you are writing about… is it local, regional, national, or international. Do you need to expand a little further… Discuss in the local context in a wider setting perhaps, then compare and contrast between your setting in the context of a wider geography/demography.
  6. What is the clinical relevance of your writing. Is there a clinical implication you can state and discuss.
  7. Surf a little on reseachgate! Search about your topic area… are their some interesting  authors you can follow, have they shared some resources that are useful to stimulate your thinking further?
  8. Check out the twitter action about current healthcare conferences… search a relevant # You can find them here:
  9. Do something else… try again tomorrow! But, DO try again! Some days are not as easy to be sufficiently creative as other days.. for lots of personal, professional reasons… or just because the ideas have not percolated sufficiently and processed enough yet in your own mind. Time will fix that – be patient with yourself, don’t give up and just be kind enough to yourself : take a walk… outside… listen to some outside nosies… feel some outside air on your face… view the skyline… stretch… come back to it all again tomorrow – or the next day!
  10. Talk to a trusted colleague… ask for their tips about overcoming writing block. And, above all – you should know that this is normal! Even the best and most prolific authors have moments of self doubt, block and believe it not …. they too can be stuck for words! So, you are in good company!
There are many more tips that can be added to the list… but ten is a good start! Hopefully one of them hits the spot for you and spurs you on in your #300wordson3daysfor3weeks


Here goes – putting the challenge out there to mental health researchers, scholars and practitioners…

During the month of August – write a paper! In a team – alone… just write.

Just 300 words on Monday, Wednesday and Friday… for just 3 weeks… 2700 words later – you have a manuscript… ready for peer review… or a book chapter ready to contribute… or a professional society magazine article ready to submit… or a blog… or a pod cast… or a case study for a new course…. it… is… that… easy!

Each week until the end of August, I will be posting tips and curating ideas of others to motivate and encourage writers through the month. Keep an eye on:

Why write? Because…

If you are a researcher – you have been entrusted with data derived from human participants… you are ethically bound to disseminate… and the way you manage your research communications and disseminate your discussions, methods and results is critical to the development of sound evidence based practice. What you do informs practitioners, educators and policy makers and helps them ensure they can utilise  information to improve human health – you owe it to your participants and society! Check out this paper about advocacy and dissemination if you need more convincing!

If you are a scholar and educator – you have been entrusted with students – the future of mental health care delivery lies in your hands. How you teach… how you motivate your students to learn… the pedagogy you use… the philosophy you use… the cases and activities you have success with… this all matters greatly! Write about your teaching practice, your teaching and learning research, review and discuss curriculum. Without your knowledge, the future of mental health care hits the brakes… you owe it to your students… and your careers!

If you are a clinician – you have been entrusted with providing care to some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Your practice knowledge is vital to the successful implementation of mental health care globally. How do you deliver care? What pressing clinical matters do you deal with everyday? Where do we succeed? Where do we need to improve? How do you be an excellent, caring practitioner? What case studies do you deal with as real life human stories? Where does the ‘rubber hit the road’? your practical knowledge is valuable and needed. There are plenty of opportunities to share it! Ethically. And… you owe it to your patients, consumers, service users, carers and to the discipline you represent.

What should you write: 

  • a case study
  • literature review
  • a critique of the method you are working on
  • a clinical guideline
  • a learning plan
  • your story
  • a practice review
  • an analysis of a technique
  • the list could go on… add your own idea, or contact me if you would like some feedback on an idea brewing in your mind!

Join the fun…and the collegiality of writing together – but apart… encouraged and motivated in the rather lonely work of dissemination. It is my intention to have some fun with writing this month… I hope you will come on the journey with me… and who knows… we may do humanity some good, as we do! Follow on… and pick up your pen… tap on your keys… ready, set – WRITE!

Person-centred E Mental Health

Explore, Build and Connect workshop

Philosophy and knowledge development pedagogy

The philosophy for this workshop is a participant -centred learning design and this aligns with person-centred approaches to mental health care, aligning practice, innovation and research with participant learning experiences in a unique and relevant way.

The pedagogy for learning and knowledge development in this workshop is underpinned by an Explore, Build and Connect framework that is suitable for face-to-face and online learning formats (Alkhaldi et al., 2016; Gallo, 2011; Howatson-Jones, Thurgate, Harnett, Thompson, & Jordan, 2013; Lau, 2011; Paliadelis et al., 2014; Wilson & Hungerford, 2015). The framework will help in building consistent and equitable learning experiences across groups, and will assist workshop leaders to provide participants with a satisfying learning experience.

This framework accommodates a storytelling and case based approach to learning about the topic areas and facilitates opportunities for participants to reflect on their knowledge development as they imagine clinical, innovation and research applicability (Paliadelis et al., 2014). The use of an explore, build and connect framework integrates learning across all three learning domains and this approach builds a common learning scaffold between learning/ knowledge development interactions during face-to-face sessions, and as work integrated learning to transform practice. Thus, knowledge is formed and shared using social interactions in to build a collective intelligence among participants (Lau, 2011). Internet-based learning resources including social media, and forum discussion extend the knowledge exchange methods that promote the development of moral reasoning for health professionals and provide a practical skill set for participants who will increasingly be required to blend not only their learning across digital and real life domains, but also their clinical practice in digital and face-to-face domains (Arrigoni, Alvaro, Vellone, & Vanzetta, 2016; Rolls, Hansen, Jackson, & Elliott, 2016; Wilson, Ranse, Cashin, & McNamara, 2013).

But first…  Mindful preparations… with a cup of coffee!

To explore new ideas, build new knowledge based on evidence and connect new knowledge to transformative practice. The idea is – you will need some peers and colleagues to share your ideas with… and to listen to others ideas… to co-produce a shared knowledge.


At the end of this session you will:

  • Have had the opportunity to explore and discuss new concepts related to the topic with peers in a safe environment where ideas are valued, and vulnerability with new material is respected.
  • Have participated in building a new shared and co-produced knowledge with a small group of peers.
  • Have been exposed to compelling evidence (or significant knowledge gap) to support new ideas, and/or new questions to develop & transform evidence base or practice.
  • Have an opportunity to interrogate some evidence and propose how it aligns, or misaligns with practice, innovation or research frameworks and agendas.
  • Connect the new knowledge that has been co-created, to practical and transformative settings.
  • Take-away (or transact) a new applied knowledge that has been developed using group-based co-creative and transformative processes, for application within a community of practice.

Some definitions…

What do we mean by Person-centred Mental Health….?

A person-centred approach is concerned with human connectedness: the capacity for feelings to be received and understood, and lives to be revealed… illuminates the needs of the person with a mental health condition, her or his family, carers and clinicians through an interactive process of dialogue & information exchange (Procter et al, 2014)

What are…

Digital interventions are defined as programs or resources that provide information and/or emotional, decisional or behavioural support for health problems using a digital platform for delivery such as a website (Alkhaldi et al., 2016).


Blended care is a strategy that combines traditional face-to-face or centre-based services with digital or mobile technology strategies

Digital literacy refers to the basic information technology skills and literacy required to utilise and interact with others via digital technologies. These include communicating and navigating successfully using the Internet, computers, digital telephones and email.

Web 1 Content is website owner written and managed. Access is provided to users who choose to go to the site and receive information. Passwords can be used to restrict access to a selected target group. Web 1 represents the first iteration of the Internet.

Web 2 is defined as Internet based application for user-generated content that is an interactive component of web-based communication platforms. Social media channels are an example of web 2.

Mobile devices include mobile or cell telephones, smart phones, tablets and notebooks.

Telepsychiatry is frequently referred to as video-linked service between health services where the consumer or patient and/or carer is in one location, while the specialist mental health practitioner/s are in a separate location.

(Wilson in Procter et al, 2017)

Pause….Where is your phone?

Where is your smart phone? How often is it within reach? How convenient is it to use  day or night?

Can you accessing health information anytime you want?  Is it convenient? Desirable? Does it have any limitations? 

Explore the topic

  • In small groups of 3 or 4 use your smart device or laptop to gather relevant information about person centred E mental health care. You are free to explore any aspect of the topic area that you want to. You should explore a combination of best practice evidence and popular views.
  • Prepare to share your information with the whole group later.

Here are some links to prompt a start… you might find other interesting information as well… relax… explore the topic… enjoy the journey.


Imagine for a moment that you are concerned about your partner or child who you think may have depression. Using the web browser of your choice, search for the Black Dog Institute and look for general information that describes depression and its treatment. What resources did you find? How suitable were they for providing basic information? Were they easy to find? What digital skills and hardware types did you need to access this information?As an E health care professional, how can you support people to gather the information useful to them to help them, and the people they care for? Discuss.

Build your knowledge


Think back to a time when you have utilised online websites or apps to gain some health related information for your personal use. What was your experience of gathering web-based information like?

Were you satisfied that you located good quality information? How did you know you could trust the information? Or, were you suspicious about the quality of information you found? Did you find conflicting advice and if so, how did you decide which advice was correct?

If you were successful in your online search for health information, what digital literacy skills did you need to be successful? How did you develop those personal skills? How would you assist others without these skills to obtain good quality health information? As an E health professional, what codes of practice will you need to be mindful of to ensure that you provide safe advice about health to people seeking your professional assistance?

Share the information you have discovered as a small group with a larger group.

Together…discuss the concepts, interrogate the evidence base, and develop and synthesise knowledge about the topic.

Connect your shared knowledge to the practical settings where you work and study.


Think back to the last time you called a service provider and were greeted by an automated phone service and menu.

How did you feel as you listened and made your way through the selections available?

Did you want to ask a question, but couldn’t? Did you want to talk about something slightly different to the categories offered? Did you feel like your enquiry was going to fit with the options available?

Or, would you have liked a different option that was not suggested? Did you fit into the menu available to you?

Did you mind having to select numbers and follow instructions? Was it convenient? (And if so; to who?) What emotions did you experience? Ambivalence? Frustration? Anger? Unintelligent? Confused? Happy? Helped? Content? Reflect on your experiences and feeling about your experiences?

Drawing forward your own learning from your own reflection on this type of experience, how do you think you would be able to assist a person with a mental health problem (or their carer) in this type of context? How will you engage with them positively? Can you see any barriers or enablers to automated services in a mental health context? Discuss with your peers.


Imagine you are planning a brief E mental health education intervention for a carer or a person experiencing an episode of depression using resources from Beyond Blue and/ or the Black Dog Institute websites, using mobile technology such as a smart phone.

What preparation will you need to do beforehand?

How will you convey the information and resources you have found to your clients?

How will you select appropriate information?

What education goals will you set?

How will you know your intervention has been effective and helpful?

How will you guide and facilitate the health learning experience?

Map your collaborative ideas…

  • In group discussion identify the practical skill set to apply knowledge in the clinical setting; innovation setting and research setting.
  • In the group discussion –  explore collaboration using a SWOT model strengths; weakness, opportunities; threats.
  • Think about a direct application to clinical e practice and person-centred mental health recovery. And, application to carer support and mental health promotion.
  • Consider application to safe practice, culturally inclusiveness and ethical care provision across the lifespan.

Synthesis: A community of practice…

Summarise your new applied knowledge that has been developed using group-based co-creative and transformative processes, for application within a community of practice.

My Samples include:

  • Design and user experience matters
  • Human connection matters
  • Safety matters
  • Do with (not to) matters
  • Evidence based practice matters
  • Practice informed evidence matters
  • Person, always first, and last.

But … what did you learn?

What are your top three take-aways from this session  that will inform the way you work towards person-centred e mental health care?

What else do you need to do/read/learn to strengthen your professional development for this topic area?

Start your transformative To Do list here:

Last lecture… Surviving & Thriving in the Nursing Academy

Last lecture… lessons learnt in nursing academia

 Surviving and thriving – the things you don’t get to say as often as you should

 For almost ten years I have had the fantastic opportunity to be employed as a nursing lecturer in Australia.

Now, as I prepare to move to a new research position at another university, in another country, I can look back and take some very real and hard won personal satisfaction from the fact that I have been able to play a significant part in contributing to the addition of many hundreds of registered nurses to the health workforce in Australia – and beyond. That is a very cool personal experience – something that has challenged and inspired me everyday of my academic life… the quality of care people receive from the nurses I have helped to educate is linked to the quality of the learning and motivation I was able to inspire in my students… These are the building blocks of the contemporary nursing workforce in Australia… I played a part. I am proud of my contribution, and thrilled to have had the opportunity! I continue to take the responsibility seriously… and my service to the professional progression of contemporary nursing education is evident in my journal and nursing textbook publications – a service to the profession.

Nurse Academics improve the world one student at a time

Each year I have helped to educate a new wave of nurses who in turn each go on to provide excellent quality nursing care to thousands of people around the nation and throughout the world. That is a very good feeling! Lots of people have lots of fantastic personal outcomes underpinned by the work my colleagues and I do together. Together we make a positive impact in the lives of many people, and we act to improve the world a little bit! It’s true… we do! But there are some battle scars that come along the way… it is a thankless, invisible job in many respects… and it is getting tougher as many students increasingly expect to be treated as online customers and the retail-style churn gets murkier year by year.

I leave this post wondering about future of nursing and worried for the well-being of the nursing academy. Fearful of the plummeting decline in the higher education sector in Australia, where funds are too little, and opportunities for scholars are too few. Where the casualization of the nursing academic workforce is the sad and unsustainable state of sordid affair that leaves everybody feeling rather disrespected the morning after.

The analogy was intended… the higher education system and funding provided to it, in Australia in 2016,… is, to not put to fine a point on it… it is… well it is, frankly… F@#$ED! I don’t think this is set to change… the political will for progress does not exist… and the ‘white poor’ will have an increasing sway in politics in the future. This demographic are less likely to value the higher education sector, seeing it as an arrogant sector, pompous, unpractical, ‘pie in the sky’… waste of public funds.

I understand… Ironically… my own background is a mixed ‘black and white poor’ stock… I understand the sense of discontent that many people have about us – from both side of the fence. We have Brexit in Britain… Trump in USA… Hanson and other in Australia… the democratic mood has diminished for the higher education sector generally. It is a shame… and before we point too many fingers… it should be noted it is a shame on us academics as well. We have failed in our duty to effectively communicate the value of what we do; what we contribute, and why it is important to society. We have let the team down corporately. We have failed to engage with the disgruntled and left out majority in the democracy we live and work in … we have failed to translate our knowledge in accessible formats for the general public to be able to digest– and this is the kick back.

Yearn to Learn

I leave my post… hoping that nursing students will yearn to learn more and shop less (that is, be more concerned with nursing and less concerned with the retail transaction in the university ‘mall’). And, that curriculum writers will remember to set aside sufficient time for learners to reflect and think about what they are learning and how they will be able to apply it in practice. To me at least, it seems we have all become too busy, pressed on every side and less scholarly in the rush. The rush is well known… it is the push to put ‘bums on seats’ … that is the bread and butter of the university financial bottom line. The equation is: More students = less substantive staff and quicker throughput… Trimesters. We call it things like adaptive change and we try to work ‘smarter’ but no matter how hard we try – keeping out of the red is a near impossibility for all universities. It is not a great environment for innovative thinking to flourish…

Preparing to leave this role has also caused me to think about what it has been like to be an early career and mid career academic… at lecturer level in a regional university. If I could, what advice I would give my 10 year younger self… starting out in academia and crossing over from clinical practice. Would I do it all again?

 Saying goodbye to a chapter in my academic life is an excellent opportunity to give a Last Lecture that hopefully distils some of my lessons learnt… and maybe sharing them will to assist others to survive a transition from clinical practice to academia… and to go on to thrive. Here are are few tips to share:

Cultural respect

First and foremost, Australia is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural and traditional land. Colonisation has brought with it many challenges to first peoples. I think, nursing academics have a key role to play in the ongoing recovery journey for Indigenous people in Australia. For example, Nurse Academics can choose to role model an unconditional cultural respect that is authentic and genuine. In doing so, others can also learn the importance of integrating respect for country, place, people and culture into our curriculum, and ultimately as graduate attributes for all of our students. We can choose to position ourselves as caring people in a caring profession and lead cultural caring as well. This is critical for the social and emotional health and well-being of all people in the nation – we have a role to play – should be choose to accept the challenge. In particular, a trauma informed care approach to teaching and learning is vital. Therefore – my tip is…. start every class, commence every meeting, begin all collaborations with acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Country and people… and then follow thorough with making and sustaining a culturally safe approach to every action, every plan and each decision. This is how the gap will close…


Be kind. Just be kind! Nurses are ideally active champions of kindness. In fact – lets go further…. Lets take on a movement of kindness leadership… lets develop expertise in the delivery of kindness… demonstrating professional kindness to all. Practice kindness. Hard – perhaps…yes! Possible… YES!

Nurses and nursing academics can sometimes be unkind to each other… Why do we offer kindness to those we care for professionally (our patients and clients), BUT, we don’t extend the same professional courtesy to each other? What harm could there be in being extra kind to our own?! We could do it! If we put our mind to it… if we wanted too…

How would kindness look in nursing academia? Well, one thing…the unheard would feel heard… there would be good logic, reason and evidence to support our teaching and learning practices and decision making… no one would be left out… everyone could thrive… no one would feel threatened by be success of others… the success of others is in fact a great cause for corporate celebration. And… we would all share a capacity to succeed and excel, personally and colalborately. Tall poppies would flourish – and would not look out of place – because they would have plenty of company from all the other tall poppies around them… and the discipline of nursing would flourish.

Our ideas, teaching and research would be more creative… and the people we care for would benefit too… So…. Be nice I say!! Be kind… let’s care for our own. Academia is a brutal enough place without us making it worse… let’s ‘kill it with kindness’.

Build Networks.

Establishing and maintaining professional networks beyond the department and institution are essential. And… it is hard to do, with the geographical disadvantage of a regional university location. But do it you must. Create conversations, discussions and collaboration beyond the department… across disciplines… across the nation… and across the world. If you are serious about being an academic and developing an academic career – then these relationships will be critical to future successes. Social media is the best tool to overcome the geographical distance. Here is the ‘How To’ guide for beginners…

Attend and speak at conferences… and make sure you put yourself ‘out there’… And when an opportunity arises to participate… Say ‘yes’ … often enough!

Don’t Stay Too Long

This is a tough one… because it often impacts personally as well as professionally. Academia (everywhere) is a harsh landscape – it is a bumpy ride. To survive – you have to move a bit. Be prepared to relocate or you will inevitably stagnate… don’t outstay your welcome.

In the new era of Post-Truth the prevailing wind seems to be toying with the idea of a fixed false belief that better things/people/others comes from faraway places… Don’t fall for that lie! Don’t stay too long… If things are starting to sour around you –chances are, it is probably not you… just that you are not new enough, exotic enough… and way too ‘local’ – taken for granted in a sense. We humans seem to be tantalised by the myth that the local known quantities are never good enough…there might be something better out there, somewhere… in the universe… So, rather than promoting and supporting our own people, we look for unicorns in faraway places with promises of great things… and then we live with our disappointment when that poor unsuspecting unicorn turned out to be much more ordinary than was hoped for. The delusions of it all! We think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The hard truth fact is: It’s not! But deluded, we persist in pursuit of the next exotic creature to grace our faculty doormat. So – don’t hang around too long… if you want to progress an academic career… you will need your CV to demonstrate international experience at some point… and a couple of universities will be handy to show a broad experience in academia. Stay long enough for an outcome… but not long enough to be hamstrung.

Take Risks

You will need to be prepared to take some risks… but the ones that you are OK to also take responsibility for … do your own risk analysis… some rules need to be challenged from time to time… some might need to be broken. If you have a good idea and you hit a brick wall… fine the work around. And – above all grab an opportunity when it arises. Some of them will be good! Occasionally, you will get it wrong – live with it and move on… grab the next good thing.


Did you read that headline carefully? Did you hear what I said? I’ll say it louder: WRITE. Publication is currency. So is a PhD – you need one… do it in the most timely way that you can – don’t delay the start…there will never be a better time. It is a horrid thing to have to endure – especially if you have a family and work as well… but you have to do it. You will be stuck, disgruntled, put-upon, and probably capsulized until you do…just get on an do it. And if you have one… write! Right?! Got it … Write.

Be Grateful

I’m thankful for many great colleagues and collaborations across almost 10 years at my university… I have embraced some good opportunities… I have taken some risks… and… I have learnt a great deal… I am grateful for all for the people that have shared their knowledge, enthusiasm and kindness with me… I am grateful that the university was established in my rural and regional home town… I am grateful for the environment in which I have lived nad worked … the country, the people… and especially my family who have been the backbone of my resilience… and have loved me unconditionally, no matter what – I am so, so, so grateful.

New Horizon

I am looking back with gratitude and looking forward with hope. On the horizon is a new country, and new research project, innovation in a greenfield area of research… it will be exciting and challenging – there will be hard work ahead… keep following to find out how landing in Denmark goes for an Aussie E Mental Health researcher…. Thanks Australia… Thanks Denmark… a new chapter begins…

If you are new to academia… I hope you have found a tip or two that will be relevant to you… and if you have been in academia for a while… I hope you are inspired to find new ways to thrive and opportunities to grab to enrich your career. Either way – the world needs us… people will always need nurses. We nurses are charged with the health promotion, recovery and well-being of all of the people in the world – it is a big ask… step up!

Would I do it again…? Yes… mostly… but… if only I had known…! and No… Somethings I have done… I would never do again… !

for more….