Packed Nursing Conference 2017 - thanks to Tommy and all our CHFT presenters.

Theatres were presenting

Dementia campaigner and legend Tommy Whitelaw was guest speaker at our Nursing and Midwifery Conference this week  - and reduced the packed room to tears.

Our Chief Nurse Brendan Brown, pictured with Tommy at HRI Learning Centre in attachments, welcomed everyone and said after a year here: "Colleagues at CHFT are unique, working with a compassion I haven't seen anywhere else, and I've worked in various organisations."

"We only ever hear and read in the press about what goes wrong in the NHS and I wanted to bring colleagues together today to celebrate the unlimited potential we have at CHFT".

When Tommy spoke it had a major impact when he told of his experiences when he looked after his mum, Joan. Specialist midwife Kate Heighway, tweeted the following: "Handing out the tissues while Tommy is speaking. Tommy, your mother would have been so proud."

Tommy became his mother's primary carer when she was diagnosed with dementia seven years before she died in 2012.

He made the point that people getting a diagnosis "become" the diagnosis and lose their identity becoming "the woman in bed 3 with dementia." Yet, he pointed out, the woman is my mum, she was beautiful, she was kind."

He also said all healthcare providers become part of a love story. All patients have families who love them and when care is needed the providers become part of their love story. 

Kate said: "Tommy was very inspirational making the point about how important the patient experience is. We work here every day but for many people they are coming for the first time to receive a diagnosis. If I see someone who looks in need of support I will always ask them are you OK?, do you know where you are going? Tommy said it is all about being kind!"

Lead development nurse, Michelle Bamforth was also there. She said: "Tommy's words really struck a chord with people from a work and a personal point of view. It was very powerful."

In the second half of the day colleagues were invited to hang their pledges on a special tree. See the video here.  To see some of the pledges our nurses made, see the attachments.  These include:

* Remember the little things

* To be the best nurse I can be

* I care

* To make times better

Among our guests were Carole Lavelle, the RCN lead for Older People and Margaret Kitching, Chief Nurse for NHS England North.

Carole said: "It has been brilliant to see the passion and pride shine through."

Margaret said: "It's fabulous seeing everyone here today and sharing such enthusiasm. We are seeing demonstrations of compassionate care and very importantly, the day is very patient centred.

Thanks also to  Chaplain George Spencer, Felicity  Astin and Emma Harris, and Vicky Thersby and Helen Hodgson for hosting workshops during the afternoon session.