Sunday, 10 January 2010


My desk at home
I have been enjoying writing with the ink pen I found. Revision is a painful torment, but I love the act of writing, and this pen with the purple ink was really helping - until it broke when I was changing the cartridge. It is beyond repair - the plastic disintegrated.

I fashioned a temporary bodge out of tape, but was ready to go out and buy a new pen. I thought I'd just check in the tin where I found that one, where I keep all sorts of fancy pens. And sure enough, hiding in there was an even older fountain pen, the one I used at school, with my name scratched in the side.

The sight of my hand holding that pen and writing with it brings back a very strong visual memory of school. It writes beautifully, still, despite being about 35 years old.

The first exam is nearly upon us, and I'm just about ready. The subject, Health Promotion, has not engaged my interest very much, which makes revision that bit more difficult. It is about the ways that public health workers try to make us more healthy, whether by diet and nutrition, sun safety, physical activity, cutting down smoking or whatever, and the reasons why we tend to resist their efforts.

We've looked at partnership working, community development, Health Needs Assessment and evaluation of interventions, use of the media and the 'settings approach'. There are tens of official documents from the World Health Organisation, the UK Dept. of Health, the Health Development Agency (now incorporated into the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) dating back to the WHO conference at Alma Ata in 1978.

The main problem with it all is my past work experience. All the policy papers and initiatives and academic theory are all very well and good. It should be possible to plan, implement and evaluate successful interventions to improve some aspect of health based on sound theory and cast-iron evidence. It's just that in real life, stuff gets in the way.

There's a project you think will really work, but the funds are only available for something else, or the partners aren't that committed, or the timescale doesn't work, and you will definitely have to fill in a soul-destroying 20-page form. As soon as it is given the go-ahead, one of the identified members of the project will announce she is pregnant and another key individual will change jobs.

Anyway, the snow conditions have been much less severe than was anticipated, and I'm tucked up in a student room on campus, ready for a short walk rather than a freezing drive to the exam venue tomorrow morning. I have a hot water bottle, and I discovered and activated the 'boost' button for the small room heater. I brought a thermos of tea and food for tonight so I don't have to venture out unless I want to. I shall run through my notes one last time, perhaps attempt a couple more questions from past exam papers, and that will be that.

My desk in the campus room


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the exam!

I love pens, and reading your post had made me search out the Parker fountain pen I got when I qualified as Nurse just over 25yrs ago!

Caz said...

Good luck!