We are so proud and happy to be invited to share some of our experiences as book authors in this blog: It all started with an idea! Mary and I had the idea to write a book on supporting families and carers way back in 2014; in response to an awareness that our own student nurses were unable to find good sources for their learning. As teachers in the BSc Nursing programme of a module entitled ‘supporting families and carers’ we knew that dedicated nursing texts were few and far between. Also we had both uncovered evidence in our respective doctoral studies of the need to support families in recovery processes, so it made sense to join forces to address this huge knowledge gap. As they say two heads are better than one!
With our energy and passion we steamed ahead and wrote a book proposal which was very well received by the publishers Taylor and Francis in 2014. Having impressed the publisher the book was then commissioned with a 12 months turnaround. Our determination to deliver on time was a priority and so as in all good partnerships we recognised the importance of working to our unique strengths. For instance Mary took the lead on time management and underpinning theory. Julie focused upon gathering case studies of caregiving and practical issues from carers. Our writing had to be woven into our busy schedules and of course impacted on our social and personal lives. On the one hand this personal sacrifice was a given as there was no way we could work full-time as academics and write 55,000 words each without ‘giving up’ personal time. Such additional work load requires juggling and tough decisions; having studied part-time previously (on top of full-tine work, raising children and being carers ourselves) we knew full well what was possible. Willingly we both gave up annual leave and weekends to write; our incentive was the vision of a finished product! Just knowing the book would be useful to students, nurses and health professionals more widely was enough to keep us going. Team working was an essential ingredient and Mary did a wonderful job ensuring we kept on time.
During the process we had an opportunity to speak at a Queens Nursing Institute (QNI) carer awareness conference (see photo) and we yielded much information but moreover, an absolute injection of certainty that our book was so needed for nurses. Fuelled with energy we carried on reading, thinking and writing. In the summer of 2015 an almost finished book emerged; we were thrilled and satisfied. So off went the draft to the publishers and then to the external reviewers. What a pleasure it was that the feedback was highly positive with few changes proposed. We made the changes and submitted our final book in September 2015. The publisher then worked on the manuscript while we choose the book cover (see photo); we selected an image of people and a tree to represent difference, growth and togetherness. We hope you like it too. Writing this book as been so satisfying and rewarding on a personal and professional level. Our launch event is looming and will be on 12.4.16 Allerton concourse at midday and we are so excited. We do hope people will come along but also purchase a copy to enjoy and learn from.
Dr Julie Wray
Senior Lecturer Multi-Professional Post-Graduate Studies
User and Carer Lead | A Scholar of the Florence Nightingale Foundation
School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social Work & Social Science, University of Salford,