We hope you are taking advantage of the very welcomed spring sunshine and longer days. We are encouraged to see many of you taking leave this month and over the Easter break. A reminder of our Easter closure dates can be found at the end of this Bulletin. We are all challenged to remain vigilant and strong, it is so important that we remember to take time for ourselves and our own wellbeing. Whether you are living alone, with your families or in shared accommodation, we are all having different experiences of this pandemic with our own challenges and needs. While we would prefer to be able to take leave to visit loved ones (or sit by ourselves on a beach!) it is essential for our wellbeing that we take some time to recharge and to disconnect from work without feeling the need to always be ‘on’. You don’t, we don’t. Remember to fill up your own cup and practice self-care before you give to others!
A reminder that we are changing the annual leave year for most staff, which currently runs from April to March, to a January to December year as we believe this will make it easier for people to plan their leave. To enable this change, we will run a shorter annual leave year from April to December in 2021 and the full January to December annual leave year will commence in January 2022. To allow us make the change to the Core system, we will have to close the system to new holiday bookings from Monday 29th to Wednesday 31st March. Can you please take some time today to ensure all your annual leave is up to date on Core.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have completed their PDP objective setting for the year. Engaging in the PDP process supports both individual and team development, and ensures that our goals align with the University’s strategic goals which in turn helps RCSI stay on track to deliver the ambitions outlined in the Strategy 2018 – 2022. With our current ways of working, it is more important now than ever for managers and individuals to have open, honest and encouraging conversations to discuss their career and development goals. If you have yet to complete this stage of the process we ask you to do so now. You can find more information here on the staff portal or can reach out to your HR Partner.
Health and Safety
The Health and Safety Office have updated many of their procedures and forms, which are available on the Health and Safety section on Staff Portal and on SPSG page on Moodle. Updates have been completed to reflect the standard review process and changes in work practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many forms are now easier to use and submit due to advancements in the use of MS Forms for example. Over the next few weeks these updates will be highlighted on WorkVivo for your information. If you have any queries on any health and safety matters, please contact Yvette Moffatt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspire- Nutritional Health
Say yes to healthier food choices! New classes for RCSI's Weightwatchers (WW) at Work commence on Thursday 8th April @ 1pm. Registration is now open for a 12-week programme and only 30 minutes per class each week! This weekly session is dedicated to you and your health, learning science-based strategies for weight loss. Our workshop is led by Sarah our Wellness Coach who helps us build healthy habits that can last, helps you achieve your goals and more importantly get support from fellow RCSI colleagues and celebrate your success! For more information or to register click here.
Another great way to embrace healthier eating habits is to take part in Healthy Ireland’s recently launched #GrowItForward initiative. As part of the Government’s #KeepWell programme, GIY (Grow It Yourself) want to help the nation eat well by inspiring and supporting people to grow some of their own food at home while connecting with friends and family to join them. 50K seed packs will be sent across Ireland, asking people to share their seeds, seedlings or produce with 10 people, with the goal of engaging half a million people in all to keep well through food growing. Register for your seed pack here and keep us posted on your seedling growth with #GrowItForward #KeepWell tags.
In this week’s Team Spotlight! piece we catch up with the team that gets an A in Adaptability! The stellar crew that is our Conference and Events Team.
The Conference and Events team, under the direction of Louise Loughran, Chief Communications Officer and led by Cara McVeigh, Conference and Events Manager comprises of the Events team with Aoife Mahon, Senior Conference and Events Planner, our Conference and Event Planners - Claire Phelan, Erica McLoughlin-Tighe, Sheila Corballis and Jen Kelly (currently on mat leave); plus, our Bookings team with Fiona Nunan and Gabrielle O’Rourke, as Events & Bookings Coordinators.
How has a year passed already! Like many other departments, our roles as we knew it, changed with immediate effect on 16 March 2020. Events and bookings were being cancelled, people wondering if they could reschedule to a future date…. All the unknowns!
It became vital to pivot quickly to the virtual delivery of events and educate ourselves in online delivery). We were tasked with finding solutions to the urgent requirements for teaching space for the next academic year, volunteering to assist with organizing the booking system for the launch of the in-house COVID testing as well as the preparation of online booklets to support both incoming and returning students with information on campus life during COVID.
The Bookings team are responsible for managing the venues in SSG Campus, and are masters at problem solving, we always say managing venues is quite like a game of tetras! Being a solution driven team, helped us to navigate the pandemic, our reduced physically distanced venue capacities and the infamous ‘new normal’.
As gatekeepers of university activity, a new Room Booking Policy was drawn up and agreed with SMT in the interest of staff and student safety and increasing room availability for core business / teaching needs and essential bookings. The introduction of ‘home rooms’, ‘learning communities’, and ‘hyflex’ teaching presented its challenges but we worked closely with the teams in SARA, Estates, Simulation and IT to find solutions.
Due to lack of space in SSG and Beaumont, we joined the teams in Estates, SARA Beaumont, IT, Media Services, Gym and the Library to support the mobilisation of Croke Park as a satellite campus
The next Academic year will bring its own challenges and innovations, but after such a turbulent year, we all know we can deliver amidst the chaos once the goal for our students is shared.
We manage the delivery of RCSI’s key strategic and reputational building events.
Challenging ourselves outside of our comfort zone of in-person events has not been easy over the last 12 months; but we have learnt new skills and challenged our abilities as a result! Do we miss in person events, YES, but the benefits to delivering events virtually for RCSI University are huge. Virtual allows you to reach a global audience, you can have speakers easily join from all around the world, and your biggest capacity issue is if your platform can hold the numbers joining a live event!
Once the pandemic hit, we had to move swiftly into planning the first ever RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences virtual conferring ceremonies in May and June 2020 (watch it here), our students still had to graduate, at a more important time than ever.
In addition to the virtual conferring’s which took place the last 12 months forced many firsts in RCSI, including the virtual delivery of;
- MyHealth Lecture Series: We moved swiftly to deliver the end of the 20219/20 series online and began planning for the 2020/21 series to be fully online. The pre-recorded lectures have been collectively watched on YouTube over 16,000 times and over 195,900 views via the Facebook page.
- the virtual conferring of the award of RCSI Honorary Doctorates upon Ms Katie Piper, Dr Richard Horton, Dr Mary D’Alton,
- Open Day, which welcomed over 1,000 students from more than 10 countries.
- RCSI Charter Meeting consisted of 150 contributors from 5 continents and welcomed over 3,000 delegates from 58 countries over the course of 5 days.
- TY MiniMed Series, held over five days, welcomed over 5,000 transition year students nationwide.
- The inaugural Sir Charles Alexander Cameron Award for Population Health, awarded to Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, over 1,000 people have viewed the event online
- Most recently, the Launch of the Institute of Global Surgery, 301 guests joined us live from over 40 countries! You can register to watch the event back here
Oh, technology we have a love hate relationship with you, but without it, we could not deliver our world reaching events! In order to deliver such large-scale events we upgraded our conference management suite of programmes to include the virtual conference platform OnAir. This was a steep learning curve for all the Events team and we are extremely proud of the way we all worked together to deliver these events which have seen the largest audience numbers from the greatest range of counties we have ever reached.
A stressful year later, but as a team we have proven our adaptability by embracing the virtual delivery of our events and look forward to working on future projects as we continue with our preparation for a number of key RCSI events taking place over the coming months. We remain hopeful for a return to in-person events in the not-so-distant future and welcome the addition of hybrid events and the opportunities they may provide.
We understand that delivering virtual events is daunting, we are very happy to provide advice to colleagues that may be planning virtual events in the future. If you are an academic/researcher/PI it is so important for you and RCSI to continue to build its reputation internationally, and we encourage you to think about how you can deliver and take part in events virtually for the benefit of RCSI.
Stay tuned as we release helpful guides and tips in the coming month on the Staff portal and Workvivo.
Ending this week with a lovely reminder submitted by one of our colleagues and a reminder of the Easter break!
Your impact on other people is bigger than you think. Someone still giggles when they think of that funny thing you said. Someone still smiles when they think of the compliment you gave them. Someone silently admires you. The advice you give has made a difference for people. The support and love you've offered others has made someone's day. Your input and opinions have made someone think twice. You're not insignificant and forgotten. Your existence makes a positive difference, whether you see it or not.
Kat, Compassionate Reminders.
As always, stay safe and look after yourself and each other.
Barry and the HR team