We are cautiously optimistic with the beginning of the reopening of society this week as is evidenced by all the lovely haircuts seen on MS Teams meetings this week! We would like to stress the importance of remaining vigilant and practicing good Covid safety measures by maintaining the 2 metre distance, wearing face coverings when inside and ensuring good hand hygiene. This is especially important for those colleagues who are continuing to work onsite to support our education delivery, student operations and essential research. We must not fall at the last hurdle or become lax in our personal responsibility to prevent the onward transmission of this virus on campus.
Even with the positive news regarding the reopening of society and the continued rollout of the national vaccination programme, many colleagues have spoken about feeling vaguely indifferent to things in their lives at present, or the proverbial ‘meh’ when asked how you’re doing. In the recent Irish Times article written by organisational psychologist Adam Grant, he puts a name to this feeling, “languishing”, a phrase first coined by sociologist Corey Keyes. The article explains this feeling in more detail and how it can sap our motivation and productivity. He also provides some practical tips on how to combat the feeling such as setting up small wins and strategies for creating more ‘flow’ in our daily routines.
Health and Safety
With most of us are working from home for over 14 months now, our colleagues in the Health and Safety office would like to remind staff of the Covid-19 Remote Work policy, safety procedures and remote working risk assessment form which have all been recently updated to reflect updates within the last year. Please take a few minutes to read through these and if you need any support or would like a further assessment of your workstation, complete the assessment here or contact the Health and Safety Office.
Staff Learning and Development
There are a range of upcoming virtual classroom based development opportunities scheduled for Q2 of this year for RCSI staff and researchers. You can view all courses on the upcoming courses page of the staff portal and look out on WorkVivo for further advertisements. Courses include:
- Managing Your Time When Working Remotely
- Delivering Impactful Presentations (In a virtual environment)
- Minute Taking Made Easy
- Researcher Career Development Workshop
The HR L&D team are available to answer any queries you have on your development needs, email Staff_L&D@rcsi.ie.
Sports & Social Events
Join your colleagues for the second S&S virtual event, if you are up for the challenge! The Virtual Escape Room will take place on Wednesday 2nd June at 5pm. How it works: Attendees will be randomly assigned to groups of 5/6 and must work together to solve riddles and codes to ESCAPE before the timeframe and before the other groups! You can earn points as you go with a leaderboard on show throughout. If you’ve done an Escape room before this virtual offering does not disappoint. Read the story line below and a short vvideo on how the virtual events are run is here. To sign up register here.
The Storyline: You have been summoned to an office. On arrival you discover you have been locked in! Alone and confused, you realise you are being framed for an elaborate Art Heist, while the true culprit walks free. The police are on their way so you need to escape before they get here.
In this week’s Team Spotlight! we catch up with a truly inspiring team, this Prof Zena Moore and the School of Nursing and Midwifery.
We in the School of Nursing & Midwifery are an eclectic group of 23 people, including professional support staff, post-doctoral researchers, nurse tutors, a senior research project manager, lecturers, a senior lecturer, associate professors, a professor, and an educational technologist. Our focus is on the provision of high class post graduate education to nurses and midwives, both within Ireland and internationally. We also have the Skin Wounds and Trauma (SWaT) Centre at the School, where we are leading in cutting edge research in the field of wound prevention and management.
Right at the outset of the pandemic, our priority was to our students. We were acutely aware of the need to be flexible to our student body who are all working in the front-line of clinical practice. Further, we did not want to put a strain on the room bookings within the University due to the need for social distancing for the learning pods for the undergraduate students. Thus, we made the decision to run our programmes using a hybrid model. This model includes asynchronised lectures and synchronised tutorials, and on-site clinical practicums in the hospitals. The whole team dived straight into the preparations for this educational delivery and worked in the true spirit of RCSI to create a top-class educational experience for our students.
Interestingly, we have the largest cohort of students ever in the history of the school, with 970 students taking our courses. No surprise, the Infection Prevention and Control programme has the highest number of students at over 150. What we are so impressed with is the commitment of our students to further education and training, despite the significant pressures that Covid-19 has had on them. Remember, they are all front-line workers, yet have fully embraced our hybrid model and have produced some amazing work over the year. These students are exemplars of the values for nursing and midwifery – Care, Compassion and Commitment, and show every day the significant value of highly educated nurses and midwives to Irish society. We are also so proud of our 2 colleagues Dr Chanel Watson and Dr Rosemarie Derwin, who, despite all that was going, were awarded their Ed Doc and PhD, respectively.
We have also welcomed new staff to the team, Dr Jarlath Varley, Dr Aicha Sayed, Dr Vishnu Renjith, and Emer Corcoran, who have fully embraced life at RCSI without meeting the team in person. The staff were anxious to actively contribute to the wider University focus on student health, and in doing so participated in the Covid-19 student swabbing and, with the Mercer Medical Centre, joined the team involved in the monitoring of students tested positive for Covid-19.
From a research perspective, we became aware that facial pressure injuries (FPIs) are a significant problem resulting from prolonged wearing of protective facemasks during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an incidence of 42.5% reported. To address this problem the research team developed an evidence-based care bundle for use by COVID-19 frontline staff, targeting the prevention of FPIs. This project was supported by the wonderful team in Philanthropy, where the supply of the care bundle kits was made possible through a fundraising initiative and support from industry. The use of the bundle was associated with a reduction in the incidence of skin injury from 29% to 8% among the participating staff.
Whilst acutely aware of the significant challenges and losses experienced by many during the pandemic, we were also cognisant of the need to look after ourselves. So, inspired by the fantastic “Inspire” team in HR, we embraced many activities, from baking, to painting, to exercising, and mostly appreciating the small pleasures in life which nature brings forward every day.
Best of all, though, is being part of one great team who have truly shown resilience and care for one another in these difficult times. We are so looking forward to being back together with everyone, but in the meantime, here is a poem my Dad taught me, and one which I share with the students at each orientation day. It is called little by little, by anonymous.
“One step and then another, and longest walk is ended,
One stitch, and then another, and the largest rent is mended,
One brick up on another, and the highest wall is made,
One flake upon another, and the deepest snow is laid.
Then do not look disheartened o’er the work you have to do,
And say that such a mighty task you never can get through,
Just endeavour, day by day, another point to gain,
And soon the mountain which you feared will prove to be a plain.
Rome was not built upon one day, the ancient proverb teaches,
And nature, with her birds and trees, the same sweet sonnet teaches,
Think not of far-off duties, but duties that are near,
And having once begun to work, resolve to persevere."
I don’t think we could finish on a more encouraging note than that!
Please continue to take care of your selves and each other.
Barry and the HR Team