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My little girl's first day at school, and why emergency care is the career for me

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My little girl starts primary school next year. I had never realised how difficult it is to choose a primary school, after wading my way through Ofsted reports and school open days I think I have finally narrowed it down to two schools. Looking at primary schools has frightened me with how quickly my little lady is growing up.  I will be the mother who cries when I drop her off for her first day next September, I just need to make a decision about which school to send her to first!

I managed to leave my primary school dilemma behind for 2 days last week to attend the Emergency Care Conference which was taking place in Harrogate. When I started my training over 18 months ago, it was with a vague idea that emergency care was the area that I wanted to work in when I qualified. As I have progressed through my course, this idea has crystallised into certainty, so when I saw an advert for the RCN Emergency Care Conference I knew I wanted to attend.

The conference was a two-day event with concurrent workshops taking place, exhibition viewing, poster presentation and a black tie reception on the Friday evening.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous that I may have been out of my depth attending a conference where experienced emergency care staff were presenting and debating on topics such as RCN policy towards knife crime.  However, I can sincerely say that everyone I met, be they Matrons, Emergency Care Practitioners, Staff Nurse, Paramedic or Lecturers were more than welcoming and genuine in their pleasure in finding a student nurse attending the conference. 

“It is reassuring to know that so much hard work and enthusiasm is being channelled into this area and the experience has reinforced my passion for an emergency care career path.”

All the talks I attended I found interesting and educational, I also found it incredibly interesting listening to the debates.  It was fantastic being able to mix with so many people who shared a passion for emergency care be it in practice or via emergency care education.  I attended many workshops, each of which taught me something new and helped me see emergency care from a different perspective be it from the paramedics, the nurse or the relative’s viewpoint.  Additionally, there was a keynote address by Dr Peter Carter the Chief Executive and General Secretary for the RCN.  I found Dr Carter’s address very interesting as he discussed the economic challenges facing the NHS over the next few years, the current binge drinking culture and the recent scandals which have besmirched the reputation of nursing.  After his address I thought I would be cheeky and ask him for a photo!  After a quick picture I was lucky enough to get some time with Dr Carter so we talked about student education and the move to make student nurse education degree based.  He explained that it was the government and the NMC who were pushing for Nurses to be educated at degree level.  He however believed that a wider entry gate to nursing was needed to encourage uptake of nursing careers.  He also believed that a national standardised curriculum for nurse training should be brought out to rule out the disparity in the quality of training being delivered via universities and that Health Care Assistants should also have a statutory System of Regulation and Training.  I was thrilled to find he was genuinely interested in my viewpoint concerning student education.  Having the chance to talk to Dr Carter was fantastic; he was clearly passionate about nursing and stated many times that as a profession we should be proud of ourselves.

Another presentation I attended concerning the development of major trauma centres throughout the UK was fascinating and the debate concerning knife crime was a massive eye opener.  Two presentations in particular impressed me, firstly the talk concerning improving emergency care for patients with dementia I found invaluable. It highlighted that simple adjustments within the A&E department and the allocation of a dementia friendly cubicle could significantly reduce the anxiety of dementia patients presenting at A&E. Attending this talk has helped me gain a greater understanding of the anxieties dementia patients may suffer within A&E.  The other talk I found fascinating concerned developing a training package to help the police make informed decisions when dealing with individuals in public places who may have mental health needs.  The talk focused on how the police should articulate accurately their observations to A&E or the Ambulance service by using a primary survey tool that the speakers had developed. 

I feel as a student I gained a wonderful insight into the behind the scenes work that is going on to improve emergency care and the experience has been invaluable to me.  It is reassuring to know that so much hard work and enthusiasm is being channelled into this area and the experience has reinforced my passion for an emergency care career path. 

Now, before I drift off into dreams of being an A&E nurse, back to choosing a primary school….

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  • I have to say, I 100% agree with Dr Carter's views on both nurse training and healthcare education. I wish I'd been able to attend the conference.

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