As I contemplate my last turkey meal for another year, it’s time to look back at some highlights from the past twelve months before we start on a fresh page for 2016.
Most popular blog
This was Simple help for painful nipples in breastfeeding women, looking at the evidence on what might help this really common problem, or indeed whether there’s a need to do anything at all. I couldn’t resist dipping into the archives too, to share how women tackled it a few hundred years ago.
It was great to welcome some new guests to Evidently Cochrane’s imaginary sofa this year, as well as some old familiars. My thanks go to all our guest bloggers but I’d like to make a special mention of our youngest, 13 year old Edward Conroy, who blogged here about his exploration of food allergy vs intolerance, as we helped Sense About Science launch their excellent publication Making Sense of Allergies.
Patients who are prepared to share their experiences with us are always special guests and it was good to feature more patients’ perspectives this year. These take us from the researchers’ world of neatly defined questions to the often messy reality of living with health problems and making choices about treatment, as illustrated by Rosalind in her blog about deciding which treatment might be right for her .
You may also have seen some blogs by Dr Lynda Ware, who has enriched our team enormously; joining Cochrane UK this year as a Senior Fellow in General Practice, Lynda is proving to be a great boon to Evidently Cochrane. Lynda’s latest blog gives a really clear and helpful summary of which over-the-counter painkillers have been shown to work best; catch up with that here.
We aim to have four special weeks, or campaigns, on the blog each year, and February saw us featuring six guest blogs during a week dedicated to sharing evidence and experience about the menopause. It’s clear from the response we’ve had that there is a great need for reliable information and support in an area where women seem to be largely left to work it out for themselves. It was brilliant working with all those who contributed to this week, notably our guest bloggers Anne Cooper (diabetes and the menopause), June Girvin (the menopause information gap) , Elaine Miller (sex and the menopause), Martin Hirsch and Harry Boardman (hormone therapy) and Jenny Hislop (Healthtalk), with support behind the scenes and on social media from Natasha North and Hannah Short from Menopause UK. You can find the blogs here.
Getting the best from social media
I’m not surprised that blogs about social media always prove popular, as it’s an ever-changing landscape where we can all gain from sharing our experiences and ideas. I learned a lot from an exciting day in a social media village and almost as much from finding myself, unexpectedly, in a practically social media-free conference. Incidentally, if you haven’t yet discovered it, you might like to visit our page of social media resources on our Cochrane UK website, to which we add useful posts as we find them.
How you’ve helped us to help you
At the start of the year, Minervation conducted some user testing for us and this valuable feedback helped to shape our redesigned blog site, which we launched in April. More recently, we’ve been running a survey to find out who our readers are, what they like and how we could make Evidently Cochrane more useful. I’ll be sharing the results of that here very soon.
Your votes put us on the shortlist of the top 10 health blogs in the running for the UK Blog Award 2015 and, at a fun evening in London, in April, we were delighted to win the award. It was a double celebration for Cochrane UK as the blog we host, Students 4 Best Evidence, won the education category. We’ve developed the blog further since then and hope you will get us to the shortlist again this year. Voting opens next week so we’ll be sharing news of that soon.
In the summer, we started experimenting with blogshots as a way to share evidence on social media and thanks to a great response to our survey we were able to create a template for these with input from potential users of them. You can read about that here. These are work in progress and I will be tweaking the content of these in the coming months.
New ‘Evidence for Everyday’ series
In November, we launched two new series, Evidence for Everyday Nursing (#EENursing) and Evidence for Everyday Midwifery (#EEMidwifery), with the aim of making it even easier for busy health professionals to get relevant evidence quickly. The series have dedicated blogs and blogshots, which are shared on social media and the blogshots archived on Pinterest and on our website, where they are available to download and share. We’ll have tweet chats too and have already had an absolutely eye-opening one, hosted by #WeNurses, on whether evidence on managing peripheral vascular catheters is being reflected in clinical practice. If you missed it, you can read all about that in this blog. We’re really pleased to have teamed up with The Practising Midwife and look forward to collaborating on some blogs in 2016. Watch this space for news of two more ‘Evidence for Everyday’ series too.
#WeCATS Critical Appraisal Twitter Sessions
In another new initiative this year, we’ve teamed up with Teresa Chinn of @WeNurses, Sally Crowe, Ruth Brice and Alison Hill at @CASPUK and André Tomlin @Mental_Elf to bring you #WeCATS. These tweet chats, held every 6-8 weeks, aim to provide opportunities to improve your skills at reading research more critically, in a friendly environment. Teresa explains more here.
It just remains for me to thank all our readers, bloggers and those who’ve engaged with us on social media. It’s been an exciting year and 2016 is looking good too! I’ll be sharing some of our plans soon. Meanwhile, have a very happy and healthy New Year!
You can find me on Twitter @ukcochranecentr and @SarahChapman30
2015 Highlights from Evidently Cochrane by Sarah Chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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