Most of the time I am Suzanne Conboy-Hill, past (1989-2012) consultant psychologist with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust http://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk and visiting clinical research fellow with the University of Brighton http://www.bton.ac.uk/, Dem Tigerpaw was my research avatar. My first encounter with Second Life came about during a rainy August day when I was on leave with nothing sensible to occupy my time. It never occurred to me then that a) people got paid to be in there or b) that I might get paid to be in there but it wasn’t too long before the possibilities for research and health care began to coalesce into ideas I could take forward into the Day Job. I started by doing some trawling. Hanging about in various places to see what went on and who was around. Was it a safe place to bring patients or clients? What clinical applications were there? How would people make use of this world? Would we get sued if somebody’s avatar were traumatised by a virtual spider? Then I found Second Health, Lord Darzi and Davee Commerce (see http://secondhealth.wordpress.com). Good company! After chats with Davee, Gentle Heron, Threedee Shepherd and others, I was ready with probably the most bizarre idea our director of research had ever heard. To his credit, he didn’t miss a beat, just suggested I find some friends and the result has been an extraordinary passage from near-retired clinician to virtual world researcher on a learning curve that might scare the Ski Sunday posse. The focus, with Imperial College and Brighton University, was on developing ways of enhancing capacity to consent to medical procedures for adults with learning disabilities. We completed a study recently and our participants did us proud. The write up is in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, Clinical Psychology Forum and a couple of other places. You can find all of them on my publications page.
For the following year or so, I set about tying up some projects involving specialist interviewing for capacity, virtual world clinical services provision, and a theoretical documentation of the value, validity, and impact of virtual world technology on health services.
The interviewing strand is there on a website called Good Question with an associated twitter account (@GQinterview). Prompt sheets for interviewers can be downloaded free to a smart device from Ether Books (you need the Ether app – also free – and you get access to some cracking fiction too) or Scribd (no app required) so that clinicians can take them unobtrusively into an interview. The book is somewhat on hold due to other priorities, and experimental Second Life space for clinicians to try out the model may have to wait on the rationale the book will outline.
While you’re waiting, maybe nip over to my other blog for some short fiction. Everything from chilling sci fi to speculative weird, with 1960s institutional drama in between.
This is a personal blog. Neither Sussex Partnership nor Brighton university are responsible for the content.
Inquiries: Art work strayarts[at]strayfish[dot]plus[dot]com; publications straybooks[at]strayfish[dot]plus.com