Grant opportunities in Medical Humanities: a Q&A and advice session

Friday, 19 May 2017, 2 pm – 3 pm
University of Manchester, Simon Building, Room 2.57

Calling researchers and practitioners interested in the intersections of humanities, arts, biomedicine, health care, and the life sciences!

The Medical Humanities Laboratory invites you to a funding advice session.

Dr Dan O’Connor from the Wellcome Trust’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division will be discussing and answering questions about the Trust’s funding schemes.   An experienced university grant writer will also be available to give advice on planning and putting together successful applications.

Everyone is welcome, and early career researchers are especially encouraged to join us.

Tea and coffee provided from 1:45 pm for a 2 pm start.

RSVP and further details

Talk: Objects of Healing – nursing technologies of the First World War

Thursday, 18 May 2017, 5:30pm – 7pm
Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL

nurses

Christine Hallett, Professor of Nursing History at the University of Manchester and President of the European Association for the History of Nursing will use objects from the Museum of Medicine and Health to examine and highlight some of the most important tools and technologies used by nurses to heal the wounds sustained by combatants on the battlefields of the First World War. This talk will focus, in particular, on the use of Carrel Dakin wound irrigation technique – a method for delivering the powerful antiseptic, sodium hypochlorite, into deep, infected combat wounds.

This event is open to all, for all backgrounds and ages and no prior knowledge assumed.

Register here

The Art of Healthcare

screenshot-2017-02-08-17-53-29Book now for the Art of Healthcare in Salford and Manchester,  a series of events and workshops open to everyone and available for free to healthcare professionals. The programme offers the opportunity to develop or refresh skills that are directly applicable to clinical practice, and to be part of a conversation about how the arts can contribute to good healthcare. Join us for a workshop on Leadership & Teamwork, or a practical session on photography and medicine.

To see the full programme, please visit: www.performingmedicine.com

Art of Healthcare will be presented for the first time in Salford & Manchester, delivered in partnership with The Lowry, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, the Doubleday Centre for Patient Experience at The University of Manchester, and the Whitworth.

MedHums Creative Portfolio: Gemma Wilson

Next in our series introducing creative portfolios is Gemma Wilson, who graduated from the MSc in Medical Humanities in 2015. She is now a Lecturer in the School of Community Health and Midwifery at UCLan.

In what follows, Gemma reflects on select works and pages from her journal:

Hospital Gown

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (front)

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (front)

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (back)

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (back)

This piece was inspired by an article entitled ‘White Coat, Patient Gown (Wellbery and Chan, 2014), which discusses the fact that although a lot of attention has been paid to the symbolic power of the doctor’s white coat, very little has been written about the patient gown. Prior to this, I hadn’t given much thought to the gown, although it is something I had come across every day when practising as a midwife.

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (detail)

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (detail)

I began to consider the act of putting on the gown and becoming a patient, and the impact that might have on an individual. I started to think about the words we associate with being a patient and decided to embroider them onto a hospital gown. I was interested in making those unspoken assumptions, ideas and beliefs visible.

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (detail)

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (detail)

Overall, the process made me more aware of what we take for granted in terms of the power structures within health care and how these are reinforced. When a person wears a hospital gown, it transforms them from an individual (with specific needs, ideas, beliefs and wants) to the role of a patient whose identity and needs become determined by medical criteria.

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (detail)

Gemma Wilson, Embroidered hospital gown (detail)

There’s Much More To Me Than My Carotid Artery

I wrote this journal entry after a visit to the Manchester Museum, where I encountered an exhibit displaying the skeleton of an unknown woman next to the skeletons of apes and prehistoric humans. I found this both disturbing and baffling. Disturbing, as I hold the belief that human remains should be treated with respect – something that has been taught and reinforced to me through the values within our society. It was baffling to me that the woman’s remains could be treated as an object for education and entertainment, because her identity was unknown; whereas, if she had an identity – and possibly living ancestors – this would be completely objectionable. I couldn’t reconcile the reasoning or logic behind this, and it left me feeling quite angry and frustrated.

Gemma Wilson, There's much more to me than my carotid artery

Gemma Wilson, There’s much more to me than my carotid artery

I imagined my own skeleton in the museum years into the future – my experiences, successes, failures, triumphs and tragedies all forgotten and unknown to the strangers who peer at my bones from the other side of the glass. This experience taught me that we can think that we have fairly strong shared beliefs that link us as a society or a profession, but when we start to look closer at things, we see inconsistencies all around us.

Heart-Sink Patient

I wrote this story after a Medical Humanities session with a doctor who was discussing ‘heart-sink patients’. As soon as these patients step through the clinic door, the doctor’s heart will sink, because they are ‘difficult’ in some way.

Gemma Wilson, Heart-sink patient

Gemma Wilson, Heart-sink patient

I began to think of the experiences of an elderly relative of mine who had an unshakeable trust in medicine. She truly believed that doctors could work miracles to the extent that she would regularly make trips to the GP to see if they could cure her old age. When they told her there still was nothing they could do, her heart would sink, but she never gave up, and every month or so she would return to see if there was a new medicine or treatment that would help reverse the effects of time.

This inspired me to write a story around the idea of a ‘heart-sink doctor’: about a retired woman and her complex relationship with both medicine and her family.

I found that creative writing was a really effective way of exploring complex and interlinked ideas within a short space of time.

Books I Love

A journal entry about books Gemma read for leisure as she was studying medical humanities – but which influenced her thinking around health, wellbeing and medicine.

Gemma Wilson, Books I Love

Gemma Wilson, Books I Love

And finally, here are Gemma’s thoughts on assembling a creative portfolio for the course more generally:

Prior to the completion of this creative journal, I hadn’t done anything creative like this; however, I found this to be one of the most rewarding and important learning experiences I’ve had. It pushed me to move out of my comfort zone and to think of new ways of approaching, understanding and presenting a variety of content. The freedom we were given to explore our own ideas also meant that we had the opportunity to discover our passions and interests within medical humanities, which was so useful later in the course (and beyond).

All artwork and images © Gemma Wilson.