Friday, 5 June 2015


Education must be not only a transmission of culture, but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of the will to explore them.
Jerome Bruner

This is the view across the Dublin skyline from my office window. Dublin is a low-rise city.
Describe to me what you see.

I asked a number of my staff to do this and no two descriptions were the same…in fact no two descriptions were remotely alike. What we see when we look at a view is a product of many things including:

  • What we are doing at the time;
  • How much time we have to dwell on the view;
  • What’s on our mind;
  • How we woke up that morning;
  • Our upbringing;
  • Our education; and 
  • What we are looking for.

In the case of one of my staff it was a case of ‘What’s he on about now!?’ When I explained it was an exercise in preparing me for my BLOG all was forgiven (maybe not!).

In this view I see history; values; economics; political impulses; imperatives; restraints; constraints; hope and hopelessness. I also see beauty and ugliness.

The humble community housing in the foreground, named in honour of one of the heroines of the 1916 Easter Rising, Countess Markievicz, is overshadowed just a few blocks beyond by the glass edifices of the Ulster Bank HQ – a legacy of the Celtic Tiger years of excess. Just out of shot to the left is one of the world’s most prestigious universities, Trinity College and in the shadow of Trinity is the house in which Oscar Wilde was born. Just out of shot to the right is the Sean O’Casey Bridge over the River Liffey, which is a fitting tribute to the writer who had his own take on life:

I have found life an enjoyable, enchanting, active, and sometime terrifying experience, and I've enjoyed it completely. A lament in one ear, maybe, but always a song in the other.

And then, not such a fitting tribute to another great Irish writer is the building from which this photograph was taken, which houses the ISQua Offices, Joyce House, which would be an appropriate honour for the great man if the building had any prepossessing or redeeming features which, alas, it does not. Then Joyce himself had quite a different view on life:

“All Moanday, Tearday, Wailsday, Thumpsday, Frightday, Shatterday.” 

I could understand Joyce feeling this way if he ever had to live in Joyce House.

So, where is this all leading?
I think it is celebrating diversity. The Irish have become good at that in recent times having been not so good at in the past – witness a plebiscite on Gay Marriage a few weeks ago that was carried by a majority of over 62%. Yet, even when divorce and contraception was illegal in Ireland, not so long ago, Ireland, as always, was producing permissive writers such as the aforementioned Wilde, Casey and Joyce.

This BLOG is getting away from me a little and I am finding it difficult now to link it to what I want to talk to you about, being the new ISQua Vision, Mission and Values.

But, perhaps not.

Take the word ‘transformation’ in the Vision, and the Values of Transparency, Integrity and Ethical behaviour and……..wait for it……DIVERSITY.
These are nothing if not permissive values.

And why should not healthcare embody and encourage such important values. In fact, when one considers the challenges that are bearing down on healthcare now, and particularly those that will do so in the future, how can we continue to deliver high quality healthcare if we do not embody such values?

Now, what I really wanted to do with this BLOG was to issue an invitation to you. The ISQua Board needs to know what you think about the new Vision, Mission and Values before we lock them in as our guiding principles for the next three years.
I have reproduced them below in case you can’t read what is written on the staff kitchen white Board (or in case you mix them up with the Plant Watering Roster which is scribbled right next to them).

Be the leader of transformation in healthcare quality and safety globally.

To inspire and drive improvement in the quality and safety of healthcare worldwide through education and knowledge sharing, external evaluation, supporting health systems and connecting people through global networks.

TAG Line
Inspiring and driving improvement in the quality and safety of healthcare worldwide.

Priorities 2016 – 2018
External Evaluation, Events, Education & Knowledge Sharing, Person Centred Care, Innovation, Global Regions.

Transparency, Integrity, Diversity, Ethical, Excellence, Evidence Based

So please, be in touch to tell us whether you think your Society is on the right track

And the last word to Mr Wilde……
Questions are never indiscreet, answers sometimes are.

Peter Carter
June  2015

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