Nurses and midwives from across Essex and aspiring health and social care students from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) were brought together at the first ever Nursing and Midwifery Conference.
Jointly organised by the Mid and South Essex Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) and Anglia Ruskin University, the event was hosted in the lecture theatre of the Michael Salmon building at ARU.
The aim of the event was to inspire nurses and midwives to be leaders and to share the vision for the three hospitals (Mid Essex, Southend and Basildon) that make up the Mid and South Essex STP.
Guest speakers included Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer NHS England; Ruth May, Executive Director of Nursing, NHS Improvement; Clare Panniker, CEO, Mid and South Essex Hospitals; and Professor Ruth Taylor, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education at ARU.
Diane Sarkar, Chief Nurse for the Mid and South Essex STP wants nurses and midwives to "step up" and work collaboratively to meet the ever-changing demands, expectations and challenges over the forthcoming year.
Diane said: "I want nurses and midwives to be able to inspire and innovate change during this exciting time as we contribute to the transformation of patient pathways. When they leave this event, I want them to go back into practice enthused and motivated by the guest speakers. I’d also like to thank our nurses and midwives for their hard work and all that they do in our hospitals. We want strong nursing and midwifery leaders. The conference was full of experience. Let’s work together moving forward to provide the best care for our patients."
Professor Jane Cummings also spoke about the importance of nurses being willing to lead and share ideas. Speaking about the NHS’s Leading Change, Adding Value campaign, she added: "Nurses and midwives are in a place where they can lead that change. Sometimes it is really important to find the time to step back and ask ‘how can we help use our ideas to make a difference?’ You see things that others don’t."
Attendees also heard from Ruth May, Executive Director of Nursing, NHS Improvement and Clare Panniker, Chief Executive of Mid and South Essex Hospitals, as well as a range of speakers covering topics from innovation in healthcare to resilience and leadership.
Clare Panniker said: "I’m certain there are days when you don’t feel the work you have done has been recognised or appreciated, but I do genuinely understand that nursing today is highly complex and requires a high level of skills. What you do on a daily basis, even if you don’t feel it, makes a huge difference to the patients and their families. The professionalism with which you carry out your role, makes an impact on the people you come into contact with."
Recent graduates from Anglia Ruskin shared their experience of practice and spoke about their own innovative projects covering students as leaders; behaviours and values in children’s nursing; and enhanced sepsis screening.
Professor Ruth Taylor, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "Nursing and midwifery have been part of Anglia Ruskin’s DNA for decades, and it was fantastic to see nurses from different trusts across Essex coming together and sharing some inspirational and innovative ideas to improve care for patients across the county. This conference signals a development of our partnerships with these trusts, which are going from strength to strength."
Alongside staff from the hospitals, Molly Case, spoken word artist, writer and registered nurse gave her unique insight into the profession, while sepsis survivor Tom Ray and his wife Nicola, gave an emotional account of their experience of the NHS, life-threatening illness and simply surviving.