Celebrate Me

Giselle Cope, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator

Giselle Cope RNLD, BSc (Hons) - Practice Development Facilitator

I wanted to share in this week’s blog my sheer excitement and delight at the prospect of attending and facilitating workshops at the ‘highly acclaimed’ Positive Choices learning disability student nurse conference 2019 later this week. Particularly so, as this year marks the hundredth year for learning disability nursing! Wow! It really is an exciting time to continue celebrating the fantastic and unique contribution which this branch of nursing makes each day to the lives of people with a learning disability! Also running concurrently with this conference, is Positive Commitment 2019, which is aimed at qualified learning disability nurses.

Positive Choices is an inspiring and ever-expanding network that brings together student nurses, academics, family carer self-advocates and other professionals from all five nations (including the Republic of Ireland) to celebrate all that is learning disability nursing each year at its two-day conferences. For me, being part of an event such as this really does create a sense of belonging, connection, pride and joy. I walked away from last year’s event feeling reinvigorated and ever more committed to championing the learning disability profession. I felt very much #bettertogether.

At last years event; ‘Heroes and Champions deserve to live a life free from fear’, which was hosted by Trinity College Dublin, I facilitated two ‘World Cafés’ which focused on the FoNS Celebrate Me work. The world café approach is an inclusive process for sharing perspectives and it gave participants an opportunity to explore the value and contribution that learning disability nursing makes and to think about the future of the role. It was a great forum which allowed attendees to be early contributors to the data. At the end of each café, participants shared messages to future prospective student nurses who might be considering learning disability nursing as a career option.

This year, I will be co-facilitating four further workshops on Thursday 25th April 2019. These workshops will be a platform to share first-hand the findings from the FoNS Celebrate Me initiative. The workshops are an opportunity to explore and exchange ideas in view of the report’s recommendations for the future of learning disability services across health and social care.

The conference is also an opportunity to celebrate and raise the profile of the importance and impact of learning disability nursing and services.

So why should we celebrate success? We know that celebrating success supports people to be more engaged, motivated, appreciated and helps in keeping positive things going. It also has an impact generally on people’s wellbeing. So why then why do we not do more of it? It just seems obvious to me!

This notion of ‘celebration’ and ‘celebrating’ has become an emerging theme for me recently in my day to day work and in particular ‘Celebrate Me’. Frontline clinical staff I have worked with have talked about the challenges they face creating opportunities to celebrate the amazing work and achievements of themselves and others. Often this is because they are just too busy with other pressing priorities. Interestingly, sometimes when they do manage to do something celebratory, this is not always valued and acknowledged by others. This has left individuals/teams feeling deflated and unappreciated. Others have suggested that ‘celebrating success’ is not what they have experienced in day to day practice and as a result, don’t tend to think of celebrating successes themselves.

So, my question to you is what stops you from celebrating success and how can you create opportunities for this to be part of your ways of working?

For more information on celebrating success and continuing the momentum see FoNS’ culture change resources.

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