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«Rowing is fun! That’s what I told myself at the beginning of each of the six training session we had to endure prior to the 26th Annual Aberdeen ...»

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The Newsletter of the

Centre of Academic Primary


Winter 2010 (19)

Rowing is fun!

That’s what I told myself at the beginning of each of

the six training session we had to endure prior to the

26th Annual Aberdeen Inter-Company Rowing Regatta.

In fairness, it was fun – or something very close to

fun. We certainly had a laugh. CAPC was represented

by Yvonne Hopf, Phil Hannaford, Leighton Walker and

me. Not what you’d call a hand-picked team - more

a self-selected convenience sample – but since the only eligibility criterion was an inability to row, we all qualified easily. We were assigned a cox in the shape of Carole Jackson, a member of Aberdeen Boat Club, whose endless enthusiasm more than made up for any shortcomings the rest of us might have had in that department (eh, that would be me then).

It’s the first training session; picture the scene. On the bonny, bonny banks of the River Dee, sparkling in the pale evening sun, an intrepid group of svelte athletes slide effortlessly into their seats on the boat and glide off, pulling to the regular beat of their cox’s call.

Think again. An assortment of pale office-types dressed variously in shorts, shell suits and cagoules launch themselves into an impossibly narrow, unstable boat, clinging for dear life to their oars, breathing in the aroma of fish from the nearby processing plants and cursing the drizzle as they move shakily away from the bank. It was a far cry from the seemingly effortless grace and precision of an Olympic Four; more like a game of Twister on a floating needle. We did get better – as did the weather.

We encountered a number of hazards during training:

• Running aground – This only happened once when the cox coxed up the steering and landed us on the rocky banks of the Dee. The sight of yours truly peeling off socks and shoes to get us afloat again was of great entertainment value for the rest of the crew. Thanks guys!

• Catching crabs - With two medics and two pharmacists onboard, you’d think the risk of this was negligible.

Unfortunately, it was a frequent occurrence, often resulting in the victim being knocked back onto the lap of the rower behind. Equally frequent air strokes had similar effects.

• The terminology – “Stroke side”, “stroke pair”, “easy”, “hold it”, “firm up” to name but a few. As you The Regatta on June the 26th saw the culmination of our efforts. The team (we were actually rowing like a team by now) took on the personae of the Teletubbies and became the aptly named “What a load of rollocks”. It felt a lot better being incognito – maybe no-one would recognise us? As for the results, we weren’t last (a miracle). We won all three of our races in Round One. Unfortunately Round 2 finished us off; we were narrowly beaten by a bunch of cavemen. In truth, this came a relief to me since by then, my triangular antenna and red handbag were looking the worse for wear, not to mention the fact that general prostration was a distinct possibility.

The good news is, this is an annual event. Unfortunately (?), the four of us are no longer eligible, being as we are, veteran rowers. No doubt Mags will be circulating application forms for next year’s regatta in a few months – just don’t listen if she says she’s signing up for the team…………… Terry Porteous Editor’s Letter Welcome to the winter edition of the Phoenix. Many thanks to everyone who contributed and we have reports from around the world related to our academic activities, as well as accounts of some of the more social outings.

As ever, you have been an active lot - rowing, running a half marathon, attempting to go hill-walking, not to mention all you FitBug***s out there! I’ll be looking for volunteers to share their FitBug stories for the next issue.

Trouper Peter Murchie entertains with his account of this year’s SAPC ASM, and it won’t fill you with confidence in your editor, when I tell you that I had to reach for Google at least three times! Even then I still haven’t quite gotten over the mental picture of him standing next to his poster being akin to being naked in a shopping mall! See what I mean, try and forget it now….

Finally, what I’d like to know is, how come Terry Porteous can still look so glamorous dressed as a telly tubby?

Answers on a postcard, please.

As ever, any ideas or suggestions for future newsletters are most welcome.

Nicola n.torrance@abdn.ac.uk Ghana - A Nation of Stars I must admit, before I left for Ghana I actually knew very little about this country in the west coast of Africa. However, by the end of my 3 weeks volunteering I was already planning my 2nd visit. Its colourful-green, yellow, and red- flag, with the distinctive black star in the middle to represent a nation of black stars was truly a realistic depiction of the country and its people. There were 9 medical students in total from Aberdeen University who were based at an orphanage which housed 20 children, aged from 8 to 16 years old. Although some of these children had learning difficulties, I definitely noticed an improvement in their uptake of information and enthusiasm to learn by the end of the trip. If   we were not at the orphanage, we would be at the rural hospital working along side doctors and nurses, learning how to conduct malarial blood films and take blood from patients- far more complex than your average training at Medical school. All in all, I had an absolutely wondering and life changing experience in Ghana. I was humbled by their hospitality, their vibrant culture   and would definitely recommend people to visit there. I would also like to thank all the staff at the Centre of Academic Primary Care, especially my supervisor Mags Watson, who helped to raise £120 in the health centre. This was used to buy games/ school equipment for the orphanage and the remaining was put towards the Ghana Education Project, which provides scholarships for the orphans to go to University.

Anusha Reddy, 2nd year medical student on 8-week summer placement in CAPC The Centre for Rural Health - A Busy Summer In March, the Centre for Rural Health was represented at the fourth International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare in Munich.

Professor Godden gave an address entitled: “Integration of Digital Technologies into Healthcare Systems.” The audience was mainly made up of computing scientists and engineers who were interested to hear more about the clinical setting and potential for use of technologies in rural healthcare. Dave will also   be giving a key note speech at the Sundhedsteknologikonference conference in Denmark in October.

  To mark our 10 year Anniversary, during the month of May we exhibited our key projects from the first 10 years of CRH together with photographs depicting some of the community projects being conducted by the centre.

In July, we welcomed Rachel Eirith from Dingwall Academy who joined us for 5 weeks as part of the Nuffield Science Bursary Programme. This initiative gives pupils the opportunity   to gain valuable experience by undertaking their own piece of research. Rachel’s project was titled “What is the nature of road traffic casualties in remote and rural UK?” - a topic which contributed to the dot.rural “Managing Information in Medical Emergencies” project.

Rachel expressed an interest in a career in research and with the excellent work she produced during her short stay with us we will definitely be keeping an eye on her for the   future!

Also in July Professor Katie Siek from Colorado, USA, came to CRH as part of her visiting fellowship. Dr Siek is an assistant professor in computer science at the University of Colorado where she leads the wellness innovation and interaction lab. Her primary research interests are in human computer interaction, health informatics and ubiquitous computing. More specifically, she is interested in how socio-technical interventions affect personal health and well being. During her visit, Professor Siek delivered seminars at the Centre for Rural Health and the dot.rural hub. She also developed a project to explore the potential role of personal health records, which may form the basis for a jointly supervised Masters project.

In August we were visited by our new Principal, who, we were very happy to discover has an interest in rural health, having previously published some key papers on the topic.

In November the Competitive Health project team will head to the final conference where the results of the 3 year project will be disseminated. Our project has piloted 2 e-health services, remote speech therapy in Caithness and teledialysis between Raigmore and Caithness General renal units, both using video conferencing. The teledialysis has been successfully used for nursing staff updates between the units, in-house training for Wick nurses and remote reviews of dialysis patients. As a result fewer out-patients have to travel to Inverness for appointments and so far this year a second consultant has not been needed to travel to Wick for clinics. Lastly, The Highland Medical Education Centre moved into the Centre for Health Science building and is now at the other end of the corridor, it’s been really nice to have some fellow UoA’s so close by!

–  –  –

06.15 Alarm clock went off. Pressed snooze.

06.30 Alarm went off again. Slowly opened eyes. Tried to remember why it was necessary to get up in the middle of the night and in the pouring rain. Could only recall something to do with catching a bus.

08.05 Bus arrived late(r than advertised). It was still pouring down! Then discovered one team member had suffered “bladder failure”. Her hydration system had leaked and she was now soaked by drinking water in addition to the rain! Quick fix had been applied but slight leakage continued on the bus...

09.30 Got off the bus in Ballatar. Still raining. Bus driver was concerned about where we were heading and thought we were going to Balmoral but relaxed on hearing we were only heading up Lochnagar!?

09.35 Desperately looking for small change in order to enter the public toilets. Eventually helped by a very kind toilet lady who let us use the facilities for free.

09.50 Local mannie assured us that “‘if it rains before 7 it will clear before 11”. Aye right!

09.51 Phoned for a taxi to take us to Glen Muick/Spittall of Glenmuick. Taxi driver was a bit concerned upon hearing our plan and we were instructed to under no circumstances stop. Go up, reach the top and straight back down (easy peasy).

10.15 After adding on extra layers including hats and gloves (!) started walking towards Cac Carn Beag/ Lochnagar. In the rain.

12.15 Met some other walkers who had turned around after a closer look at the cloud obscuring the summit. Still pouring rain.

12.30 The Rambling Researchers walked through snow, rain and gales but ultimately the cloud defeated us as navigation was impossible. Decided to abandon summit attempt and to walk round the hill instead.

13.04 One team member decided that the mini-whiskies (a Glenfiddich 15years and an Auchentoshan 12 year old) intended to be drank on the summit were not to be consumed as we didn’t make it. Not a popular decision!

16.45 Arrived at back at Glen Muick/Spittall of Glenmuick. Bright sunshine, clear view of the top we’d attempted!???? To be continued...when the weather allows!

Hanne Bruhn and Yvonne Hopf The Rambling Researchers Alice Kiger in Slovenia

–  –  –

In addition to participating in the conferences, the research summer school and some incidental work in the undergraduate programme, and I’ve been teaching two master’s courses: ‘Ethical Theory in Clinical Nursing Practice’ and ‘Education and Mentoring in Clinical Nursing Practice’. They take place at the VSZNJ’s postgraduate centre in Ljubljana. I’ve been impressed with the students. They all work full-time and pursue the degree full-time. They take six obligatory courses (including mine) in the first year, and have five elective courses and a research thesis in the second year. Each course entails two weeks of attendance, 3:30pm to 8:30pm Monday to Friday. So the students either work all day and then come to class, or come to class and then work all night. Amazingly, they tend to attend faithfully! They’re enthusiastic and rewarding to teach, as well as being lots of fun. One of my teaching weeks was at Easter (with accompanying husband), and they provided me with a huge Easter basket of food and goodies and a bouquet of flowers! Nice work!

Ethics class – the small person standing in the middle next to me is my ‘assistant teacher’ Andreja Prebil.

SAPC ASM 2010 Norwich – Aha!

The hometown of Coleman’s Mustard and Alan Partridge. That was about all that I knew about Norwich prior to my flying visit to this year’s Society of Academic Primary Care Annual Scientific Meeting, hosted by the good people at the University of East Anglia. And so it was, from window 14B on the 7.15 from Aberdeen to Norwich, one of world travel’s less glamorous schedules, that I gazed out upon the curiously flat fen lands with spirey old Norwich nestling thereon. After disembarking at Norwich International, which seems to have changed little   since the days when it was home to the spitfire’s of No 18 Squadron, I was conveyed by Britain’s unfriendliest taxi-driver, through the awakenings of suburban England, to the sprawling concrete edifices of UoEA. After a fruitless search for a bacon roll and cup of coffee, I trudged wearily to registration and thence to the poster sticking place. I’d arrived a little too late for the first plenary, so decided to do a little poking around   for an hour or so. I must say, that on closer inspection, UoEA had been holding its light under a precast bushel. It’s actually architecturally quite interesting in a Scottish parliamently sort   of way. There are some lovely green spaces, some interesting sculptures and use of water, a wonderful museum (where they wouldn’t let me in as it wasn’t 10.30), and most interesting of all student halls built on the plan of the ziggurats of ancient Persia. Unfortunately Bettany Hughes was not on hand to lead a conducted tour.

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