The NiP Event in London is always popular but this year saw the biggest turnout of nurses to date - over 1,500 over the two days.
And from the get-go it was a tremendous event. Liz Thiebe's from the King's Fund kicked things off with an inspiring talk on the power of nurse leaders. It was interesting to learn from Liz, who studied nursing in America, that US nurses often study the UK health service and greatly admire it in terms of access and developments such as nurse prescribing.
Liz urged all present to read the Darzi report as she strongly believes that it will improve practice. She quoted Johann Wolfgang Goethe: "Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do".
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a NiP Event regular, spoke about the power of the media and how this can influence our practice. She described how newspapers are only interested in two types of drugs - miracle drugs and killer drugs. And all papers influence their readers, your patients.
To illustrate just how a story can be spun, she highlighted a feature that had turned up in several papers last year, stating that four coffees a day can reduce a woman's fertility by 26% (or 75% as one paper had it).
However, a closer look at the study that this news story was based on, told a very different story. The study in question was a retrospective study of women who had already undergone IVF treatment that hadn't worked, ie, already had fertility problems. They were asked several lifestyle questions, one of which did pertain to the amount of coffee they drank. And the results did point to a 26% reduction in fertility with four cups of coffee, for these women. However, it also found that:
But the press chose the coffee angle, and applied this to all women, not just those who were already experiencing problems with their fertility.
Other talks over the two days covered topics such as domestic violence, diabetes, tissue viability, the Knowledge and Skills Framework, breast awareness, menopause, stress management, IT in practice, stroke care, alcohol awareness, and much more. A particularly scary talk on the impending flu pandemic left this reporter planning an escape to the country. A discussion on the challenges of becoming a nurse partner sparked a lot of interest. And the discovery that one large glass of wine is actually equal to three units of alcohol was met with general shock.
A special note should be made to the Y Touring Theatre company, who left the audience in emotional turmoil after performing scenes from their play "Cracked", which followed a schoolgirl through a serious mental health episode. The acting was superb and the message very powerful, as most of the audience were not just nurses, but parents too.
And Carla Ubrich, the singing patient, entertained delegates with her songs inspired by a long stint in hospital and rehabilition following a stroke. It's not everyday you listen to a song praising the power of the maxi pad!
If you wish to access any of the presentations from NiP London 2008, these will be posted on the NiP website over the coming weeks - just keep a look out.
The final NiP Event of 2008 takes place in Birmingham on 19 November. This Event will also include the first ever NiP Awards ceremony. There is still time to register - just click here.
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