Public Health – the ‘wide net’ approach

Last week I started some additional work outside of the University,with Nottingham City Public Health. In healthcare it is easy to turn immediate focus to those at the extremes, expending maximum resource to bring them into the band of majority. For instance, the drive to tackle obesity often prioritises those who are medically overweight (morbidly obese) as this category is seen as high risk. Public health allows the scope to attempt to influence and change the behaviour of the majority for the better, less concerned with exclusively medical interventions but, instead,  turning attention to changes in lifestyle and other health risk contributors (in the case of obesity). The results may not be as drastic as those seen in at the extremes, but the impact is widespread amongst a given population.

My first project will look at the needs of those most at risk from sight loss within the city’s population. This work will form part of an overview of Sensory Impairments in Nottingham, in light of the Public Health Outcomes Framework. Better get reading!

Advertisements

And we’re off! – Green Impact

The Green Impact project mentioned a short whileback was officially launched this week at the Departmental meeting and the presentation was well received by the staff attending. It is part of the national Green Impact scheme in association with the National Union of Students. The aims are as follows:

  1. Reducing waste and increasing recycling
  2. Increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions
  3. Increasing sustainable procurement
  4. Increasing sustainable transport
  5. Improving communications relating to sustainability 

The scheme’s  ‘bronze, silver and gold’ award approach allows for creative and innovative solutions to be discussed and implemented in the work place, rewarding the most successful and orignal ideas.  It has provided the Team with a framework which will be helpful when trying to act upon the various ‘green’ areas mentioned above.

In order to keep ‘green’ changes in the workplace relevant to staff behaviour it is important to provide a platform for individuals to voice their thoughts and ideas on how they feel working practices can be made more sustainable.  This is because staff ideas and experiences are the drivers for sustaining ‘green’ initiatives within the workplace in the long term. At the moment the ‘Green Team’ is focusing on collating feedback and judging by the initial responses, I’m quite optimistic that we will be able to implement some key changes in the very near future!    

Turning the Department Green

Talk around sustainability commonly surfaces here in the UK everytime energy providers increase their prices. It tends to spark the  ‘gas,nuclear or renewable energy’ debate and talk of CO2 emissions targets. Although that discussion is at a national level,  issues around sustainability very much affects all of us on an individual level. For example, A typical 8-hour working day can involve an employee travelling into work from home, working in the office and then travelling back home again at the end of the day. Our actions and how we interact with the environment around us do have an impact at every stage of the working day cycle. Thinking about using less and wasting less is always a good place to start. There’s evidence of a few ‘green’ schemes already in place so it would be good to build on those, see how effective they’ve been and include a few more.  I’m hopefully going to try and get involved in setting up a Green Impact branch in my department to see what we can all do to ensure our actions are as sustainable as possible.

Project Management

On the 30th October, I attended the Project Management training conducted by the University of Leicester. I think it was successful in its aim of providing attendees with skills and tips to help manage their own projects, and this was down to its practical nature. I’m sometimes sceptical of theory-laden presentations on practical methods as I feel that they aren’t very good at relating well to the topic at hand; there’s only so much you can get out of reading about applied techniques, but how are you to get a feel for them without giving them a go? So I was really glad that, for this course, this wasn’t the case.

 The discussions within the teams were a good way of finding out about everyone else’s project and it was interesting to see the variations from one project to another. I put my project and all its sub-tasks through SMART and recieved constructive feedback and tips from the course leader and my team. For example, the time it would take me to carry out some parts of my current project (the extensive literature review) first seemed hard to measure as I had not previously carried out a literature search of that scale. Having a statistical method of double-checking my rough estimates through PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) was therefore useful and will be beneficial if I am ever in a situation of producing a new project proposal in future.

The course was full of simple yet key points (or what I term ‘project gems’). A favourite of mine was the importance of acknowledging the difference between ‘Plans’ and ‘Planning’. Allowing for changes to the overarching ‘plan’ through ‘planning’ doesnt necessarily mean that the original ‘plan’ was wrong, the two are simply different in nature with one being more dynamic than the other.  

Meet Outlook, my new best friend

Summary deadlines, personal deadlines, departmental meetings,staff meetings, progress meetings, workshops, seminars research project chats, appointments -the list seems endless.  How would I juggle it all?? Strangely enough organising and forward planning is very moi but the intial juggling at work did prove to be a bit of a struggle – that was before I met Outlook at work and began using it to its full potential. A be-lated first encounter I hear you cry, but I simply cannot imagine worklife without my new companion.  So useful, so handy, so….me! So Outlook – this one’s for you.