I was really looking forward to the International Forum and meeting people from all over the world, but I was also a bit nervous. Firstly travelling to London and secondly the questions going through my head: ‘Would I stand out like a sore thumb as a student at the forum? Would I fit in, would I know enough?’.
All of that nervousness was replaced with excitement when I arrived at the ExCel London centre where the forum was taking place. I knew that I was going to have a great couple of days learning lots about quality improvement across the world. This first hit me when I entered the exhibition hall to see stands from all over the world demonstrating quality improvement, including NHS Wales. After meeting the 1000 Lives Improvement team and my fellow students from across Wales, I knew I was in for a great couple of days.
A highlight from one of the first sessions I attended was working on a task with a team of doctors on a paper plane exercise that replicated a production line. I sat back and quickly realised that the task was all about teamwork, and demonstrated that if one part of the process failed, the whole process failed. A great way to start the next few days.
Day two came in no time at all and I was raring to go. The day started with a keynote from Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO of The IHI. She is an amazing and charismatic women and with her being a nurse herself, I felt really connected and inspired by what she was saying, you could really feel her enthusiasm catch on across the 3,000 people in the room. It was great to be made feel so welcome by everyone in the room and felt like a lot of the professionals in the room were looking at us to continue and start quality improvement for the next generation of healthcare professionals.
Another highlight of the day was connecting and sharing through social media, something else I am very passionate about. Not only that, but I was able to take part in a session on board the Emirates Airline cable car, where I met and spoke with Rhiannon Baeumont-Wood, Director of Nursing at Public Health Wales, and we discussed lots of ideas surrounding quality improvement.
‘Elderly people are not made of sugar’. That’s something I will definitely be taking away from the quality forum. This piece of knowledge came from Ole Kassow, Founder of Cycling Without Age. He spoke about his project of pairing the young with the old, for instance with bicycle with a front seat so the younger generation can transport the older generation, while they impart knowledge in return, an example being paring a young solicitor with an older solicitor. The sugar quote was to emphasise that old people do not need to be wrapped up inside, they can enjoy a bit of rain now and then and they will not dissolve!
The week was finished off with two inspiring keynotes from Martine Wright, a survivor of the London bombings in 2007 and now the captain of the paralympic women’s sitting volleyball team and Don Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the IHI.
Everything that I heard throughout the forum reinforced and inspired me to come back to Wales and put quality improvement in place, keeping in mind it is important to bring back the human touch as well. I’d like to give special thanks to 1000s Lives Improvement, to my fellow students and to Angela Williams for making the forum so special.
I will try and be the best I can and I hope other people can feel empowered to continue on their quality improvement journey.
Kirsty Jones is a third year nursing student at Swansea University. Join the conversation, leave your comment below or Tweet us @1000LivesPlus.