I have come to realise there are three strands to my social prescribing scheme dream. They are imbedded, intertwined and I can’t establish whether I need to focus on one (if so, which one!) or all three to achieve my goals, if they are even possible, particularly as an individual.
I started off 2019 applying for a job in Social Prescribing, because it was dangled in front of me. I got a flat rejection! I am now incredibly grateful for this, I did not have the knowledge or experience and it wasn’t specifically what I want to do. But, I still went for it, and I am human… It’s taken a good few bars or chocolate, or parkruns depending on whom I am speaking too, to process this and get back on the band wagon. That, and umpteen sickness bugs suffered by and gifted from the children (does anyone else think January and February should just be scrapped?) has meant I have been away longer than I had intended, but… Im back!
So these three strands. Do I need to define what I am trying to do? Elizabeth Gilbert, author of international best seller Eat, Pray, Love argues that its important to enable your creative mind to live, to try not to feel anguish and failure and to kill off ideas. Allow yourself to dream and believe.
Well, this might feel a bit too creative for my NHS background, but, she definitely has a point. I am enjoying perusing my ambitions and I am not sure where they will take me, but I am enjoying pursuing each and every avenue. Whilst social prescribing is definitely developing at a pace with wonderful successes such as the recent international #socialprescribingday on the 14th March, and commitments and priorities such as those outlined in the NHS long term plan and the GP partnership review, I try and remind myself that my #socialprescribingschemedream does not need to happen overnight. Whilst I am learning, enjoying and feeling inspired there is a good enough justification to carry on.
What I have come to realise is that my interest within social prescribing does not fit directly in to the following pathway whereby a patient visits a GP and is referred to a link worker/community navigator.
I have the same aspirations and outcomes as this route. But I am more interested in utilising the social prescribing model to explore how health promotion is delivered universally, and what people have access to, to inspire and improve their health and wellbeing within a community.
I have come to realise I am more interested in public health and would like to focus on universal health, rather than individuals identified such as those with complexed needs seen by a link worker or community navigator and in receipt of a social prescription.
To this end, the 3 strands I am going to continue to explore are:
- Social Prescribing and Health Visiting. I am passionate there is more to be utilised from the Specialist Community Public Health Nursing profession than is currently being pursued within Social Prescribing. The discourse between the University degree to become a SCPHN and the reality of the job is grand, but, the training aligns perfectly with social prescribing and I would love to see Health Visitors and School Nurses skills, qualities and experience captivated within and enriching the Social Prescribing offer.
- GP surgeries and universal health promotion… waiting rooms! Its superb that the social prescription offer is now being taken seriously and we are reconsidering the social determinants of health rather than a purely medical model approach. But, I would like to see the waiting room utilised to promote health. I would like to explore how to inspire health and wellbeing from the moment you step into the building.
- Taking strand 2 a bit further, the final area that interests me moves away from the NHS entirely and looks at how a community can embed better health and wellbeing within its highstreet. and having this endorsed by the health service. Avenues I would like to explore include regenerating the high street, community hubs, allotments, park runs, man sheds and community fridge, park runs, cookery demonstrations and intergenerational work.
I know these three bullet points could take a lifetime. They are ginormous and to return to the fist paragraph of this blog, I know I cannot achieve all three. This cannot be the goal. But, I wanted to get down on paper what I am interested in and why I will be chopping and changing around different avenues… At the moment I am considering all these possibilities in my ideas funnel!