Barry-Holmes-DisruptHR

Dear Colleagues,

This will be the last HR bulletin over the summer months as we collectively take a well-earned break to rest and recharge ready for the next academic year. We are encouraged to see that many staff have booked extended time away over the coming months, let’s hope this good weather stays with us! We hope you’ll post your lovely vacation pictures to our WorkVivo page to help us stay connected over the summer and see some new and exciting places to visit. Thank you to everyone who participated in the latest Pulse Survey which closed yesterday evening. We look forward to sharing the results with you next week.

Join us for a coffee and a chat at this morning’s Coffee Roulette (but with a furry twist)! It’s bring your pet to work day 🙂 So whether you have a furry companion to show off or, like us, you can’t resist making friends with every persons dog or cat! All are welcome to this special coffee morning. Simply join here at 10am for a Friday morning positivity boost! Did you know that having a pet has proven positive mental health benefits? From increasing our physical activity, to providing companionship and daily structure. You might like to read this article to find out more https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/pets-and-mental-health

It was very positive to see so many of our people managers register for the upcoming ‘Mental Health Awareness Training for Managers’ which was heavily oversubscribed. For any who missed this opportunity or if you are interested in learning more in this area this LinkedIn Learning course on ‘How to support your employees wellbeing’ provides specific tools based on neuroscience to help you be a source of strength and support for your team members. Our Staff Learning and Development team previously created this conversation guide ‘Talking about wellbeing on your team’ which contains practical tips also.

The Irish Universities Training Network organise an annual leadership event which this year is sponsored by Trinity College Dublin. The webinar is aimed at academic and research staff and is entitled “To be successful as a leader, forget everything you think you know”. It will be delivered by Dr. Domhnaill Hernon, Nokia Bell Labs. In this talk Dr. Hernon he will share his own experience and observations on how the culture in academia and industry might be holding us back from reaching our potential. His theory - it’s not about algorithms or frameworks or paradigms or models or data or publications - it’s all about the most complex thing in the universe……..people! Full details and registration form can be found here. 

In this week's Team Spotlight! we catch up with a team that has been crucial in our successes over the past 15 months. This is the Health Professions Education Centre (HPEC) team.


Like all of our colleagues in RCSI, the past year has been a very eventful one for HPEC. It all kicked off in March 2020, when the decision was taken to drastically reduce the amount of on-campus teaching and move instead to a largely virtual mode of delivery for the vast majority of courses. At HPEC, we got straight to work, collaborating closely with colleagues in IT, the Library, Media Services and the RCSI SIM Centre as part of the Digitally Engaged Learning (DEL) team. The team provided training and support for staff to develop the technical and teaching skills they needed to get them up and running, while furiously planning for the start of the new academic year.

The online theme was very much to the fore in this year, which saw the creation of RCSI’s very own set of ten new virtual patients (VPs), following extensive work by Catherine Bruen, Dr Caroline Delany and many others. Covering challenging consultations, such as shared decision making and breaking bad news, and key areas such as paediatrics, sexual health and COVID-19, among others, this technology provides an invaluable online resource for health professions’ students to hone their communication skills in a safe, effective and evidence-based format.

There was an element of musical chairs to the proceedings with the reappearance of some staff and the departure of others. August saw Professor Teresa Pawlikowska swap the role of HPEC Director to that of Emeritus Professor. Professor Pawlikowska was succeeded by Professor Jan Illing, who brings a wealth of experience in health professions education research. Jan’s work in areas such as medical transitions, assessment and regulation, professionalism, clinical supervision and workplace bullying has triggered changes to policy and practice in the UK, from whence she hails.

November also saw Dr Martina Crehan re-join the HPEC team as Deputy Director following her secondment to THEP. Martina’s work will continue to focus on areas related to faculty development needs for future curricula.  HPEC staff were also boosted by the addition of Helen Kelly, formerly coordinator of RCSI’s communications and language programs, and Dr Dara Cassidy, Head of Online Learning. The addition of Helen to the team provides a wonderful opportunity to expand our research into intercultural education, while Dara will seek to build on the progress made during the pandemic to help embed the use of digital technologies to support innovation in curriculum delivery.  Research Officer Dr Andrea Doyle crossed the corridor (or the road, depending on post-COVID arrangements!) to the RCSI SIM Centre. We were very sad to see Andrea depart but happily have been able to continue working with her on the DEL evaluation and VP research outputs. We were also delighted to welcome two new research officers – Vicki O’Donnell and Gareth Edwards. In such a period of great flux, our longest serving member, Mary Smyth, kept the show on the road, providing sterling support to the myriad of ongoing projects.

March saw an especially strong HPEC presence at the INHED (Irish Network of Healthcare Educators) conference, a highlight in the calendar for health professions’ educators in Ireland and increasingly internationally. A record number of RCSI staff represented the university, including a key note from Professor Walter Eppich. HPEC team members flew the flag with a range of different presentations, workshops, and research projects. Our pre-conference workshop “Resilience building for students and educators”, struck a chord with attendees, promoting shared reflection around the challenges - and silver linings - of teaching during a pandemic. To cap it all off, we were especially proud of our colleague Jenny Moffett who won the best presentation prize in addition to securing the INHED MCI RIME grant for research into the use of escape rooms to develop medical students’ capacity to manage uncertainty.

Whilst all this was going on, we were busy developing our five-year strategy, which will launch in September 2021. Incorporating a clear vison and mission statement, the strategy includes ten goals focusing on developing our community, driving up educational scholarship and research, and informing our curricula to ensuring our students are prepared for practice. There will also be an enhanced focused on digital learning, and the establishment of an education consultancy service that can be accessed by RCSI schools and faculty, moves we hope will further embed RCSI’s reputation as a centre of educational excellence.


Dublin Pride Week will be celebrated from 21- 27 June this year and our own RCSI Pride Staff Network have been coming up with ideas for staff and students to participate online again to mark the 31st year of Pride worldwide. Activities will include collaborations with the MyHealth Lecture Series, Student Pride Society, RCSI Gym, INSPIRE and many individual staff members. Keep an eye on WorkVivo for further details and visit #RCSIProudTogether to see activities currently posted. If you would like to join the Pride Network or any of the Staff Networks just email equality@rcsi.ie.

Signing off with a poem by W.H. Davis titled 'Leisure' to remind us of the beauty that awaits when we slow down enough to see it.

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?-

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Take care of yourselves and those close to you over the summer months and don't forget to check in with each other.

Barry and the HR Team