The Nurse and Allied Health Professional Council Lunchtime Conference Event

Frazer Underwood is Deputy Chair of the Nurses and AHPs Council and an Associate Clinical Professor and Consultant Nurse in Integrated Services for Older People at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Plymouth.

Lucy Lewis, Chair of the Council, opened the conference’s online lunchtime session with a welcome to all. This is the second year the NAHP Council committee has brought together the wider Council membership at the BGS Autumn Meeting to meet the Committee representing them and to provide an opportunity to listen and engage and to hear what is important to them. This year two breakout sessions were arranged for members to delve a little deeper into areas of work the Council would like to strengthen this coming year. Below are reports from those breakout sessions to share with everyone – if you would like to know more or get involved please contact Scientific Officer Jo Gough who will connect you with us.

The theme of this year’s networking lunch was Council engagement opportunities

Lucy Lewis, Chair of the Council and Emma Matthews, Council representative on the Policy and Communications Committee, chaired this breakout session.

Enabling the Nurse and AHP voice to be heard within the BGS and beyond:

We explored why it is important to hear the professional voice of Nurses and AHPs at a regional and national level and why this is important in improving the health and wellbeing of older people. We heard from two Council members Anna Chainey and Angeline Price about how COVID-19 enabled their professional voice to be heard across whole systems leadership and research. Esther Clift discussed her trailblazing role as a BGS regional chair coming from a professional background other than medicine.

We had intended to use Padlet to ask people the following questions:

  1. Why is it important to get involved in the BGS at a regional level?
  2. What are the barriers to getting involved in the BGS at a regional level?
  3. How has the COVID-19 pandemic enabled your professional voice to be heard?
  4. Why is hearing the voice of nurses and AHPs important to the health of older people?
  5. What more could the BGS be doing to promote our professional voices being heard?

Sadly, a technical hitch meant our Zoom session was abruptly brought to a close; this was unfortunately while Anna was speaking! We did manage to gather a few insightful comments afterward which have been helpful.

  • Q1 “I've recently offered my services as N&AHP representative for the North West regional group, as I'm keep to develop links with others working in this area and want to be able to encourage other N&AHPs to get involved. It's a great forum for promoting interdisciplinary learning and the sharing of ideas/ways of working :-)”
  • Q2 “Not knowing who and how to contact regional group reps, and what can be contributed”
  • Q4 “Older people require MDT care, and it's important that the full complement of voices is heard as each will have a different perspective/priorities/experience, which can enrich the services we deliver”
  • Q5 “Continue to work across the forums we have involvement with, aim to recruit more N&AHPs as members (need to think about what benefits this can bring to colleagues at all stages of their career/promote career progression), champion frailty and working with older people as a specialist role with specialist skillset (as in other medical specialties) as can sometimes be viewed as less glamorous or less skilled by others, continue to incorporate N&AHP content into newsletter, publications”

If you would like to take a few minutes to answer the above questions and email your answers to j [dot] gough [at] bgs [dot] org [dot] uk (Joanna Gough), we would be most grateful.

Thank you to all who contributed.

Lucy and Emma

The concurrent breakout session was linked to growing clinical academic engagement opportunities for members.

“Getting involved in research” session

The Nurse and Allied Health Professionals Council have long discussed how it can encourage more members to present their research and quality improvement work at conferences, both regional and national. An important step in getting there is responding to the often-posed question: how do members get involved in research and QI work in the first place? There was a great opportunity at this year’s virtual Autumn conference to explore this and inform the Council’s work plan for 2021.

Michele Broad, Council representative on the Research and Academic Development Committee and Principal Academic in Nursing Older People, and Frazer Underwood, Deputy Chair of the Council and Associate Clinical Professor and Consultant Nurse, chaired a breakout session to listen to Council members.

Michele used Padlet to help engage the audience and gather feedback on five questions:

  • Can you share some examples of your research?
  • Can you give some examples of how you have shared your research?
  • What do you see as the priorities for older people research?
  • What are the barriers to getting involved in research?
  • How can the BGS Nurses and AHP Council help?

It was great that people got involved and shared some brilliant examples of what the Council could do. This is a brief summary of that session.

Responding to the first question and through our brief introductions, colleagues shared a wide range of clinical and research experience and interest – from around the UK, professional groups and sub-specialities of older people’s care. Examples included advanced practice research, simulation training impact evaluation, care home QI projects and wider service evaluation and PhD work into older people’s confidence. Exploring how people are involved in sharing their research work, there was a mixture of experience. Some people were more hesitant in disseminating their work, whilst others were submitting abstracts, posters, publishing reviews and other papers.

To encourage more novice researchers, there was a great discussion involving Lisa Berry, Editor of the RCNI Nursing Older People journal. There is a wealth of experience and support within the Council to help others develop their writing confidence along with the affiliation that the Council has to the journal, in particular supporting writers to contribute to its regular feature by responding to questions posed by the journal’s wider readership. The very topical contribution this month asks: “My research study improves patient care – how can I share it?

Turning to the next question and seeing where we should be focusing research interests, Padlet contributors highlighted three key themes for attention: mental health, care homes and stronger evaluation of older people’s service redesign. There has been some wider BGS work, led through the Research and Academic Development Committee, into priority research areas in older people’s healthcare. It will be interesting to see where these themes fit with this wider work.

Finally, the breakout group’s discussion turned to barriers to research and getting work visible in the BGS and how the Council can enable stronger Nurse and Allied Health Professional presence at conferences. We heard about time and funding barriers, and about recognition and inequity of opportunities compared to those afforded to medical colleagues. Frazer spoke about his recent 70@70 leadership role with the National Institute of Health Research and how that role has been created to champion these exact challenges.

Looking to opportunities, there was a great discussion that started and ideas shared, such as:

  • Article / abstract / publication writing workshops and groups
  • Promoting the various clinical academic pathway opportunities available
  • Establishing mentorship programmes or networks (other societies successfully offer these to learn from)
  • Webinars / Zoom meetings and opportunities to network with Council members

It was great to get the conversation started and we will be taking these issues and ideas forward in our ongoing Council discussions. Watch out in our future newsletters on how these will start to take shape in 2021.

Thank you to all who contributed.

Michele and Frazer


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