21 January 2014

Strange time of year

HULL, United Kingdom—I find January a strange time of year. The previous year ends in a frenzy of finishing things off, yet the New Year starts with just as much work to do as ever—and with the added stress that you’re now behind by at least two weeks.

My editor-in-chief inbox at the Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN) was full of new manuscripts to review. Clearly, the editors had been making the most of the break and processing their allocation of manuscripts, so my “outbox”—the one that fills up with manuscripts ready for editing and production—is still not empty. I’m not complaining. If there were no manuscripts, there would be no JAN. Incidentally, if you want to know more about the editorial team of JAN, visit our blog and scroll down to the series of pieces called “Ten things about,” and you’ll find out about us there.

The Lancet Commission
The Lancet Commission is taking shape. The commissioners are appointed, and the press has picked up the story—must have been something to do with my well-crafted press release. I’ve been in the local newspaper, on local radio, and in Nursing Standard. I understand the need to get information out to the press, but I get irritated speaking to journalists. Is it just me, or do they not understand the purpose of a press release? I feel like saying “That’s the story; you’ve got it,”' but they insist on probing, and they always make me feel I’m trying to hide something. I’m not afraid to say, “I don’t know,” to a journalist, but I hate the subsequent efforts to help me find an answer. It must be a technique they learn in journalism school. I have put up a list of the commissioners on my new “Lancet Commission on UK Nursing” blog.

Feeding difficulty in dementia
The other major distraction from doing what I want—making travel arrangements and running statistical analyses on large datasets—has been revising a grant application to the Alzheimer's Society. The application is for a three-year PhD studentship, and the proposed project is to take forward a line of work on interventions for feeding difficulty in older people with dementia. This is my second application, the first having been rejected.

Feeding difficulty in older people with dementia has been a major interest since my days in clinical practice. My development of the Edinburgh Feeding Difficulty in Dementia (EdFED) scale, along with Ian Deary, PhD, FBA, at The University of Edinburgh, opened many doors for me, none more important than that of Li-Chan Lin, PhD, of National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan. I had the privilege of hosting Professor Lin as a Leverhulme Visiting Professor while I was at The University of Sheffield. She gave an excellent lecture that was chaired by Vice-Chancellor Sir Keith Burnett, CBE, FRS, and reported in Research Endeavours And Dissemination (READ), the nursing research bulletin. Lin and I translated the instrument into Chinese, and it has been used as an outcome measure in her seminal work on interventions to help older people with dementia who have feeding difficulty.

The interventions are based on Montessori methods and spaced retrieval, and all evidence to date suggests that they work. My intention is to transfer the work to the UK and develop a brief intervention. We have proof of concept, but the intervention is time-consuming and labour-intensive. If I have attended to the revisions to the satisfaction of the Alzheimer’s Society, I may be awarded the grant, and you will be among the first to know.

Nursing Open
Finally, as if I did not have enough to do, I have agreed to be the founding editor for a new Wiley journal called Nursing Open. The journal will be online, open access, and pay to publish, a very different venture from JAN. The website should be populated before my next entry, so I hope you will look forward to learning more about Nursing Open and its team of associate editors.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.

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