The journey from Mid Wales to Gothenburg was a long and tiring one, but anticipation kept me going as an exciting 3 days lay ahead!
The hall was packed for the Forum’s opening plenary by Dr Don Berwick. This was a great introduction to quality improvement through “The Red Bead Game” which showed that no matter how hard you try to drive staff to improve, nothing will change unless improvements are made to the system they work in. The speech was engaging and by the end I really felt I had a better grasp of the science behind quality improvement, which prepared me for the rest of the conference.
One of the most intriguing sessions I attended was on Gamification – the application of motivators and ideas from videogames in real life situations. It’s generally accepted that there are different learning styles that suit different people, but this session highlighted the importance of the different ways to engage and motivate people. Some individuals are motivated by the end goal, such as the sense of accomplishment of achieving their aim or the reward received; others by the skills they learn along the way or the friends they make.
During the session we had to split ourselves into groups according to what motivated us and come up with solutions to some healthcare problems that we’d find appealing. It was great to hear the thoughts and ideas of individuals from different health professions with similar goals to mine and then have the opportunity work together to solve the problem. I even took the microphone and gave feedback to the rest of the groups, which was a bit nerve-wracking since there were so many people!
I heard so many inspirational and thought provoking quotes from different speakers throughout the conference, it was difficult during some sessions to keep up with writing all the good ideas and different perspectives down. One message that particularly stuck in my mind was: “If we can’t treat ourselves well, how can we treat our patients well?” because it highlighted the importance of good communication and care between staff members as the foundation of quality improvement.
Doctors Advancing Patient Safety (DAPS) held a session aimed at students and young healthcare professionals explaining that it’s easier for newly or ‘soon-to-be’ qualified staff to think outside the box because “they’re not even in the box yet”. It’s important to remember that everyone’s ideas for improvement are valid, regardless of their status or role. DAPS also host a patient safety summer school for young allied health professionals, which is definitely something I’ll be looking into!
On top of all the interesting talks and presentations, Ashley, Ellie and I compared quality improvement between our three different health courses, and even managed to squeeze in a chance to explore the city. Given the opportunity to attend the Forum again, I’d go back in a heartbeat.