When I entered the ‘A day in the life of a patient’ competition, I saw it as an opportunity to raise awareness of paediatric nursing and apply what we’re taught at university in terms of putting yourself in the shoe of your patients. However, winning it has enabled me to learn so much more than this. As a competition winner I attended the 2016 Patient Safety Congress in Manchester. With over 2,000 health professionals from clinical and non-clinical backgrounds attending, there was a vast assortment of knowledge and experience present throughout the two days.
Dr Suzette Woodward, one of the opening speakers on the first day, suggested that as health professionals, we should “learn to do the job, on the job” when discussing the education and application of patient safety. This was evident throughout the Congress as the stalls and speakers reiterated that we are trying to improve, and not replace current healthcare services and medical interventions. There were several notable themes including the use of technology to advance current practice and the need to adopt a family-centred and holistic approach, working with patients and not for them to provide the best possible care.
The interactive side of the Congress revolved around social media via Twitter allowing delegates such as myself to not only see what was happening all over the Congress, but to also get actively involved. Furthermore, the use of Sli.do, an internet based service that I had not used before, allowed direct engagement with each speaker through polls and questions.
Over the course of the two days, three sessions in particular really stood out for me: namely Cathy Sheehan, Clinical Lead for Children Protection at NHS England who gave ‘An integrated approach to safeguarding children’; Dr Daniel Cohen and Dr Stephen Webb’s ‘Investigating harmful events due to delays in diagnosis’ and the NICE Forum’s ‘The cancer drugs fund: The new arrangement’.
There were personal development opportunities at the Congress too. I asked a question in front of what felt like hundreds of people (using a microphone) and conversed with speakers after their presentations about the topics they had discussed. It was a great opportunity to meet other delegates and professionals from across the UK, learning about their fields, interests and backgrounds.
The Congress wasn’t the only positive outcome of entering the competition. I was able to explore a busy, beautiful city that I had not seen before (I would especially recommend visiting the John Rylands Library). I also met Amanda, an adult nursing student from Bangor University who shared the same enthusiasm for our chosen profession, and of course the 1000 Lives Improvement team, who had no hesitation in making us feel welcome and involved us throughout.
An additional highlight of the Congress was winning the Datix patient safety quiz with Amanda (and scoring ourselves teddy bear prizes!). I enjoyed every minute of this experience and I wouldn’t have been able to gain the exposure and knowledge of quality improvement and patient safety that I now have if it wasn’t for 1000 Lives Improvement, and for that, I am very grateful….Thank you!!