John-Marc Compérat won the RCN in Wales Student Nurse of the Year Award for an online mindfulness resource he created for people with learning disabilities. But that was just the beginning...
My first career was in music, where I mainly worked as a commercial sound engineer. I never thought I would need to use these skills in health care. But then, in the second year of my nursing degree, I was asked to create a health promotion tool for people with learning disabilities and their carers as part of an assignment.
After talking to health care professionals and service users, I decided to develop an online audio tool to help make mindfulness accessible to people with learning disabilities.
Mindfulness for everyone
The mindfulness pack I developed includes four mindfulness exercises that guide people through listening, observing, describing and doing things mindfully. They’re introduced, described and delivered via audio description with accompanying written and easy read instructions. They guide the listener through each exercise step by step so people can do it on their own or in groups.
The great thing about it is that both service users and carers can do the mindfulness session at the same time. It means carers can be positive role models and more people can take part. It also means group sessions can be run without the need to have an expert in mindfulness to lead the therapy.
Expanding the idea
Following positive feedback, I thought to myself, why stop at mindfulness?
People with learning disabilities face similar barriers in all aspects of health and wellbeing and I’ve always found there to be a lack of quality resources readily available to find and use in my work.
I know a lot of my colleagues feel the same. This can often cause delays in intervention and have a negative impact on the outcome and effectiveness of care we’re able to provide.
I’ve regularly ended up having to make my own resources. This not only requires certain computer skills and access to the right technology but, above all else, takes a lot of time. Valuable time that could be spent engaging with the people we work with.
The idea for an online community was born, where resources to use with people with learning disabilities could be easily accessed and shared.
It’s still in its infancy at the moment, but I’m hoping Resource Buddy will continue to develop and grow into a one-stop shop where a wide range of quality and accessible resources can be found and used quickly – for free!
Currently, the website hosts original Resource Buddy materials, such as the mindfulness pack and some visual communication aids. It also signposts to other recommended resources.
All the resources are there to support health care professionals working with people with learning disabilities. Hopefully, they will make a real difference in promoting engagement, wellbeing and positive health outcomes.
If you would like to recommend a useful resource, highlight a need or lack of resources in a particular area or would just like to be part of the “sharing is caring” community, visit the Resource Buddy site, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @ResourceBuddy.
Find out more about the RCN in Wales Awards. Nominations for 2019 close on 21 June.