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Nursing in Practice Events - Back to Birmingham

I'm back in the office after yet another successful Nursing in Practice Event. Yesterday we came to the NEC in Birmingham and over 900 nurses joined us for a day of education, inspiration and fun. Despite the fact that I had to get up while it was still dark to catch the 7:40am train (one delegate told me that she had to get up at 4:45am, so I shouldn't really complain) and that the train was cancelled on the way back to London, I am very pleased with the day.

The buzzword for the day was "change" and sessions covered everything from behavioural changes in obesity management to changes in personal and professional life.

Sylvia Denton, former RCN President, kickstarted the day with a valuable keynote speech on nurses as leaders. She encouraged the audience to speak up, change idealism into action, take risks and have a belief in nursing, and pointed out that nothing is more powerful than a group equipped with skills and knowledge, which is gained at conferences such as this.

One of our celeb speakers, Jennifer Percival, touched on another burning issue - smoking cessation. England has been smoke-free since July, but the real impact of the ban will be seen during the winter months when smokers realise that it's not as fun having to light up outdoors in the cold and rain as it was in the warm summer.

The magic number of the day proved to be 4,000. Jennifer Percival taught us that one cigarette contains 4,000 chemicals including tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine, acetone, ammonia, benzene, butane, and so on. Although nicotine is not the substance that causes cancer and COPD, there are still 3,999 harmful chemicals in just one fag, and why someone would find this tasty is beyond me.

In her popular session, "Contraceptive choices - what do women want?", Gilly Andrews explained that a man produces 4,000 sperm each second. No wonder women want to protect themselves! But is there such a thing as the ideal contraception? According to Gilly women want effective, reversible and invisible contraception that doesn't have any side-effects, tastes like chocolate and makes them lose weight. An impossible quest? Time will tell, and whether it will be chocolate flavoured and help us shed a few pounds I'm not so sure, but do let me know if and when!

Another personal highlight was Scott Kane's session about suicide risk awareness for nurses. The workshop was crammed with nurses wanting to learn more about this important topic and Scott managed to deliver an optimistic and entertaining talk on a serious and, as Scott put it, miserable topic. Did you know that the most popular season for suicide is springtime? And did you know that there is a suicide every 95 minutes in the UK? The challenge for the primary care nurse is to be fully aware of the risks and both support and report any suicidal tendencies, which may not be very easy.

Ian Govier's motivational talk inspired the audience to catch the vision and change. Change doesn't happen in the comfort zone, and to prove this he made the audience grab each other's hands and do the "Dance of Change". Change is much like dancing, you see - some engage, some step on your toes, some do the quickstep and some do a slow foxtrot. And what a sight it was! Everyone in the whole auditorium was swinging to the right, to the left, to the front, up and down. Jane DeVille-Almond, who delivered a speech on obesity management earlier in the morning, would have been proud of us!

If you were at our Birmingham Event I hope you were inspired to go back to your practice and make a difference, professionally or personally. We would love to hear your thoughts and reflections on the day, so please share them with us.

NiP Events for 2007 are now over, but NiP Events 2008 are just around the corner. The first stop is in Belfast on 6 February, our first time in Northern Ireland, and I'm really looking forward to finding out how our Irish nurses are doing.

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"I was fortunate to be present at the event last week and intially pleased to see the turn out of colleagues. However, as the day progressed it saddened me to hear colleagues quite openly stating that they had been drawn to the event by the fact that it was free and there was usually plenty of freebies to take home. When I challenged them with regard to how the sessions of the day would impact on their practice and learning they, in many circumstances had not considered their learning needs in relation to what was on offer. If we are trying as a profession to encourage focused self development surely there must be an understanding of how sessions such those provided by the event, fit within our PDP. Outings for the sake of freebies are not the basis of a meaningful and professionally beneficial day. The few people I spoke to who had attended based on the content on offer had a clear understanding of how they were trying to develop their practice. If we are to have the "passion" that Sylvia Denton demanded then we must start by looking at ourselves and viewing our personal development as a major cog in the wheel. I don't want to sound like I am bashing our profession, I just want to see that passion that we all talk about but often fail to demonstrate" - Name and address supplied