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STUDENT BLOG

Together we can 'Stop the Pressure'

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How much do we really know about the risk of an individual developing a pressure ulcer? Can we eliminate preventable pressure ulcers in the future?

Back in November I attended LSBU’s student-led ’Stop the Pressure’ conference at Central Hall, Westminster, held in support of International Stop the Pressure Day on 19 November.

I feel proud to say that alongside two fellow student nurses I was able to assist Rob Waterson, Chair of the Organising Committee, and the team. We contributed towards the smooth running of the event during the first part of the day by meeting and greeting a large number of enthusiastic pre-reg student nurses and post-reg nurses. We were expecting approximately 600 delegates to attend and were supported by an interesting range of healthcare and educational organisations, including the NHS.

I was impressed by the influential plenary and external keynote speakers which included Michelle Mello, NHS England; Ruth May, Monitor; Ann Lloyd Keen, University of Bedfordshire; Sue Proctor, Buckinghamshire New University and Thomas Shanahan, Leeds Medical School.

“The session involved a presentation using a demonstration doll called Sally Sore which was used to practically display parts of the body that can be affected by pressure ulcers.”

There was also a fantastic range of themed masterclasses throughout the day for delegates to learn about innovative practice, share ideas and listen to different perspectives from the UK and internationally.

In fact, the highlight of my afternoon was attending one particular masterclass, ‘Simulation to Support Learning in Practice’ which was presented by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust. The session involved a presentation using a demonstration doll called Sally Sore which was used to practically display parts of the body that can be affected by pressure ulcers. All vulnerable groups receiving health care, regardless of age, etc. are at risk of developing pressure ulcers and it is a myth that only older people develop them.

“The support from leaders demonstrates a commitment to this important health issue and only further serves to highlight the need for support from all healthcare professionals.”

As a student nurse I felt privileged to have the opportunity to listen to a wide range of healthcare leaders share their experiences of - and passion for - healthcare. Their common aim - to improve all aspects of patient care and safety, with the ultimate goal to eliminate avoidable pressure ulcers. The support from leaders demonstrates a commitment to this important health issue and only further serves to highlight the need for support from all healthcare professionals.

I was inspired by Rob Waterson’s closing speech which demonstrated his motivation and dedication towards nursing and most importantly asked that delegates to commit to a ‘call to action’ - a social movement towards the prevention of pressure ulcers utilising social media as a platform to spread key messages. As Chair of the Organising Committee, and someone who has taken the journey from a student nurse at LSBU to a newly qualified nurse, Rob is truly an inspiration to me as a student nurse and a fantastic leader in the making.

“It is not acceptable for patients to develop avoidable pressure ulcers and be reliant on having them fixed afterwards, once the damage is done. Prevention is key.”

Two of the most important things I learned from attending the conference were the following: pressure ulcers can happen to absolutely anyone, regardless of age, gender etc; and it is not acceptable for patients to develop avoidable pressure ulcers and be reliant on having them fixed afterwards, once the damage is done. Prevention is key.

As a student nurse and future qualified nurse, I now feel much more equipped and informed about the importance and reasons for pressure ulcer prevention.

So this is my call to action: always share knowledge and information with colleagues in the fight for pressure ulcer prevention. What will yours be?

Michelle Manners is a first-year student undertaking a pre-reg PG Diploma in Adult Nursing with London South Bank University (LSBU)

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