Who knew there were like-minded people out there?
Lynn MacDiarmid, Advanced Nurse Practitioner St Luke’s Hospital, Community Health Services, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.
I work as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner as part of the team based in the Leicester and Leicestershire community hospitals. We provide day-to-day medical cover to patients receiving rehabilitation and palliative care and following acute care step-down. We also cover two stroke rehabilitation wards.
I have been a member of the British Geriatrics Society since 2014, when I was a trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner. The consultant who was my mentor at the time suggested that I join the BGS to access study days and conferences, in addition to the many educational resources available, which are all related specifically to older people.
Having attended a few regional events organised by the team here in Trent, I got the buzz for learning from different speakers, and the best aspect I found was being able to network with other people from all disciplines, and to learn from them. It was also an opportunity to share good practice.
When I attended my first BGS conference, I went up to Glasgow for the Autumn Meeting in November 2016. I didn’t know anyone who was going. It was fantastic. There were so many inspirational international speakers, all talking about making a difference to older people in healthcare. One of the sessions that I attended was the Nurses and AHP Council. Here were like-minded multi-disciplinary people, passionate about improving care for older people and really keen for more people to be involved.
I had been working on developing our Advanced Nurse Practitioner portfolio to demonstrate ongoing advanced practice following my MSc, and this was the perfect opportunity to share it and obtain feedback – was anyone else doing the same thing, and if so, could we prevent constantly reinventing the wheel? By May 2017 I was on my first visit to Marjory Warren House, the BGS headquarters in London, after I joined the council. Everyone I met was very friendly and welcoming.
Since I have been on the council, I have had opportunities to contribute to the agenda for improving care for our older people. I have been able to network and form some good friendships with colleagues up and down the country. I have also been able to recruit more people to the Society, so that they too can benefit from the learning and sharing opportunities that are available.
I have also developed professionally. I have presented my work at the BGS council meetings and sought feedback, and I contribute by sharing good practice and concerns for older people's healthcare both now and in the future. We also work collaboratively to improve access to resources and act as a source of support and advice for members.
As a member, I was privileged in November 2019 to judge poster presentations for the Eva Huggins Prize at the BGS conference in Leicester. This is awarded to the best Nurse/AHP poster submitted. The winners are then invited to present their work at a council meeting.
To be part of a community that is passionate about older people’s care and do things to change practice and national policy is amazing – who knew there were people like me out there? I hope to continue to be a part of the BGS for a long time to come, as it is one of the best things I have done in my 30-year career.