January 01, 2009

Bits and Bobs

Happy New Year everyone!

I've been assembling this post for a few days, and intended it to be a sort of "wrap-up" of incidental items at the end of 2008.

But as usual, my procrastinator gene came to the fore, so now this will have to be the first of 2009's witterings. 

In earlier posts I've mentioned my volunteer work with an adult literacy organisation, and I'm pleased to say that my student is making great strides. It's very rewarding to work with someone so motivated and with such clear goals, and I enjoy the challenge of making our lessons interesting and fun.

My role as a meta-editor in ODP/DMOZ continues to have its ups and downs, but my new policy of ignoring pretty much everything said or done by directory management seems to be working well. It was initially very difficult, because I am by nature respectful of authority, but such respect has to be earned, so I have found it surprisingly easy to ignore them and just carry on with what I enjoy.
It is sadly true that management indifference to the volunteer community continues to be the single biggest challenge to the project, but it is obvious that those of us who do care about this are not in a position to do anything about it. All we can do is work away in our chosen corners and try to hang on to what is still great.

Many thanks to Keith Tipton, who sent me a very insightful article entitled "Why Volunteers Quit". It should be required reading for DMOZ staff and Administrators, particularly the section called "How to Keep Volunteers" - an echo of my own comments early last year. 

In my yearly Christmas message to friends, I mentioned that by the end of this year I will have completed my Post-graduate Diploma in Forensic Medicine, but in response to further questions I have found it hard to explain what this entails. Thanks to numerous "forensic" TV shows, people get rather confused about all the different professions involved, and assume that I will be a forensic pathologist or a forensic scientist, whereas in fact those are completely different specialties, with separate training requirements and roles.

The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine explains that clinical forensic medicine is:
principally concerned with the provision of forensic medical services to the living and medical advice particularly in the investigation of crimes.
So what will I will be trained for?
The Monash University course handbook says:
On completion of the [Post-Graduate Diploma] it is expected that graduates should be able to demonstrate a range of skills and knowledge specific to the units that they have undertaken. They should be able to: provide competent clinical forensic medical services; clearly communicate medico-legal issues to the justice system; prepare effective and objective medico-legal reports; critically evaluate the ethical and legal issues arising in forensic medical practice, and Interpret wounds and injury patterns with particular reference to causation. 
However, the only jobs available in this field in Western Australia are in Custodial Medicine, which is not an area that appeals to me. So unfortunately it looks like this will be yet another interesting but unused qualification in my CV. I seem to collect them!

Despite the absence of any formal feedback or performance review from last year, I have been offered another position as a clinical tutor at the University of Notre Dame Medical School, so I presume I did OK. I certainly enjoyed it, and so did my students, (who all passed their exams, yay!), so I'm greatly looking forward to meeting another group this year.

A recent addition to the family is Emily the Emu, made by a local sculptor who is also the creator of my (unnamed) kangaroo.

My dogs are starting the year as they finished it, comfortable, asleep, and thoroughly spoiled (yes, they get the prime position in front of the fan).

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and safe 2009!

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