Battles on the NHS frontline is a column I wrote in 2015 for – a well used blog produced by Sage to disseminate academic research. This was my first attempt to write about employment relations in healthcare for polite journalistic society. It was a massive learning curve for me to a) be less verbose and make a point in 800 words b) stop showing off and trying to be funny and c) learning to get my ideas in the media.


In the academic world, ‘impact’ (having people read your research and use it) was at some point in 2015 the holy grail of research excellence. As someone who came late to academia, its always been a point of frustration how little exposure academic writing WHICH IS REALLY REALLY HARD TO PRODUCE gets in the press. Actual facts, people?


The experience of producing this column went some way to explain it.


Firstly you can only really make one point in a blog of 800 words. In life that’s probably OK but in academic research it’s really missing the point. Research about the real world is often complex and you can easily end up saying absolutely nothing.


Secondly, to get press exposure you have to respond to what’s happening in the news in the last 24 hours. To do this you’re forced to keep journalists hours, writing your byline in response to the early press.


Thirdly, you’ll be contacted by a journalist at 4pm on a Sunday and need to prepare a pitch for radio or telly over night to spontaneously roll out at 6am on Monday.


Six months of and I just needed to sleep more.


The blogs formed the basis of the introductory chapters of my book Surviving Work in Healthcare: Helpful stuff for people on the frontline as well as the basis for the ideas explored on It was the first time I had the guts to write about racism and bullying in healthcare and the first time I stated my position on surviving work out loud.


To download Battles on the NHS Frontline click HERE.



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