Nursing Times student nurse blogger Katrina Michelle Rowan reflects on the highs and lows of this year’s RCN Congress.
I have returned from attending my 2nd Congress in Bournemouth and enjoyed five hugely interesting and enjoyable days. Highlights for me included hearing the speeches from Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg. Both of the politicians presented their speeches well, both took questions from the audience and both got standing ovations.
Gordon Brown came across as charismatic and got a huge round of applause when he promised to protect NHS pensions. He praised our dedication, our care, our compassion and our mercy. Nick Clegg delivered in his speech a promise to devolve power away from Whitehall. His vision of the NHS involved NHS staff and patients having greater control, of the nurses having the opportunity to direct health services and have a say in where services should be protected.
For me, Angela Rippon delivered the most moving speech of all. She delivered and emotional and passionate speech on dementia stating that dementia had stole away the woman who was her mother and replaced her with an entirely different character who could at times be violent and abusive. Angela stated she felt nurses do not want to do a poor job, but that lack of training in treating or recognising dementia can have a significant impact on nursing care for dementia patients. Angela is campaigning with the Alzheimer’s Society for all staff to be trained in dealing with dementia patients.
One of the debates that took place where a number of delegates shared moving and inspirational stories concerned first aid training for children. I absolutely 100% agreed with the motion that first aid training should be given to children at primary school. As one speaker eloquently pointed out, children are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. The support for this debate was overwhelming in its emotion and its sincerity that first aid should be a vital part of primary school education. One speaker stated that teaching children first aid would give them an appreciation and respect for life that is overshadowed with computer games where you can shoot people and they come back to life. It almost felt like history was being made in the Bournemouth International Centre as the vote to lobby for this change in education was passed by an overwhelming majority of 99%.
I have a superb time, met many wonderful and inspiring people and really felt that the nursing voice is one that will resonate and action change for the better.