Words on a page

Trainee Nurse's Notebook

Trainee nurse’s notebook

In the process of sorting out the educational resources at the George Marshall Medical Museum I came across this notebook; it belonged to a nurse during her days at training college. It includes anatomical sketches, lecture notes, to-do lists and doodles. It’s the workings of her mind put down on paper as knowledge was acquired and experience gained.

It occurred to me that since finishing university in 2012 I have no longer kept any formal record of my day to day life; assuming Facebook does all the hard work for me. My rucksack is always full of scribbled to-do and shopping lists but other than the fact that I regularly forget to buy milk, they tell me very little. I had lost the discipline of writing to record and recording to learn.

This was the case up until I began my traineeship. All trainees keep a record of their learning as part of the role. As I’ve discovered, keeping a learning journal is an additional task to your week but the benefits are manifold. It will be a useful record for writing job applications when the time comes but it also serves as an important evaluation tool in underlining what training we’ve received and when we’ve put it to use.

Writing a learning journal has continued as a key aspect of the Professional Development Profile for the PG Cert. Danielle has previously written more on the module here. During the sessions, we were introduced to the process of reflective writing. This practice is not only about recording factual wheres and what fors. It is a process of capturing your thoughts and ideas throughout your experiences to help you identify your strengths, weakness and preferences in learning, to enable you to become a more mindful leader.

Foundling Museum, London

Foundling Museum, London

In November, Lily and I visited the Foundling Museum in London. We met with the Learning Coordinator who discussed their schools and family learning programme and gave us a guided tour of the galleries. It was an insightful and interesting day but it wasn’t until I returned to the office on Monday morning and began my learning journal that I could fully appreciate what a useful experience it had been. Through articulating exactly what ideas I had gathered I could recognise how I can actually put them to good use. Identifying what I had learnt in this way has had a recognisable impact on the educational workshop that I’m in the process of creating. Moreover, I will be able to reflect on my learning when writing my Professional Development Profile assignment.

So far, my traineeship has been so fast paced that it would be almost impossible to have recorded everything. I’m sure that much of what I’ve learnt may not even become apparent until long into my next role. However, the New Year will see the six month mark of the traineeships and with Christmas less than a week away, now seems like a very good time to take stock. I can definitely say that reflective writing and remembering to put words on a page will always be on my to-do list.

Thanks for reading,

Etta Griffiths


The human connection

This flagstone is one of the best stops on the Infirmary tour.

flagstone“I shan’t be booking any time soon” I hear you say. Well, standing in the ceremonial entrance with the light cascading in through the tall Georgian windows you can see the scuffs and scrapes left by hundreds of thousands of footsteps. This was the area where the infirmary admissions office once stood.  For over 240 years people queued up to be admitted into hospital and each indentation has the potential to tell a story. Who stood there? Were they like me? Was it frightening?

Anyone who has sat in a doctor’s waiting room or been rushed to A&E can relate to this predicament. If you’ve been fortunate enough never to have needed medical attention then newspaper headlines will have filled you in on the topic of NHS waiting times I’m sure.

Looking at this spot allows us to empathise with people from the past and to wonder, just for a minute, how our lives may have been different if we were born at an earlier time. Without this nugget of information it’s a seemingly dull section of floor. What brings the flagstone to life is its human connection. It’s the people who passed through this place that is important; not its bricks and mortar.

Over the past few months we’ve attended training on a wide range of heritage skills; from tour guiding to delivering primary school workshops. Whilst the training has been varied and diverse ‘the human connection’ has been a reoccurring theme. As heritage professionals our job is to enable others to make connections and engage with the past in whichever way they wish. We’re developing the tools to bring objects, documents and buildings to life and the human connection is more often than not the ‘life’ that we are looking for.

Thanks for reading,

Etta Griffiths

Scope for growth

Hi everyone. Its Etta here.

I will be at the  George Marshall Medical Museum and The Infirmary and my role is to explore ways of incorporating STEM subjects into the educational programme. ‘STEM’ is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They are core aspects of the National Curriculum and of great importance to our increasingly scientific and technological society. As such there is a recognised need to champion the subjects and to provide learners with real-life situations where STEM subjects are applicable. One prime example is medicine and healthcare. Take the radiographer: a role that involves both a thorough understanding of human anatomy and a capacity to work with highly technologically advanced equipment.

The museum environment can offer a historical perspective and show how technologies have enabled medical practitioners throughout history. From the 19th century monaural stethoscope to modern day remote surgery; design, technology and engineering have been the driving force behind medical advancement. On the other hand, the obstetric forceps have changed very little in design since their first use in the 16th century. The potential to explore STEM subjects within a medical museum is great and the possibilities seem almost endless.

Monaural stethoscope MBI007

Monaural Stethoscope on display at The Infirmary (MBI007)

During my first few weeks I have been getting to know the fascinating collection held at the George Marshall. I’ve been looking through a set of anatomical depictions. From autopsical drawings to lift-the-flap school books the collection demonstrates the absolute starting point of medicine: knowing how the body works. The images are also, quite frankly, eerily captivating.

Autopsical Drawing

Autopsical Drawing, George Marshall Medical Museum

Educational Anatomy

Educational Pamphlet, George Marshall Medical Museum

They are my launch pad for a workshop on ‘scopes’. Microscopy, endoscopy, fluoroscopy; all are technologies developed to investigate inside the body. The aim of the workshop will be to enable students to understand what has gone before and imagine where technology could take medicine next. Creating a workshop will require planning, a pilot and an evaluation process to address whether it meets the needs of students. It will be an exciting challenge and one that I’m looking forward to.

Thanks for reading,

Etta Griffiths

For more information about STEM visit: http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/stem-in-context/what-is-stem