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NET Conference 2019 - final thoughts from our student blogger

09 Sep 2019 | Kayleigh McElderry-Wilkinson Kayleigh McElderry-Wilkinson, undergraduate Adult Nurse at Northumbria University, reflects on day three at #NETConf19.
NET drew to a close last Thursday on its 30th anniversary of the event. It is testament to the success of the conference and that of the organising committee that so many national and international delegates were so keen to come together under one roof and share evidence-based practice, years of knowledge and experience and learn from one another. I attended a workshop in the morning that was facilitated by day two keynote speaker, Jonathan Stephen, and Rebekah Smith both of Huddersfield University Students’ Union (SU). What does successful student engagement look like and how to measure it? This is a question I have asked myself on a number of occasions during my role as Department Representative for Nursing, Midwifery and Healthcare and subsequently Lead Representative for the Faculty of Health and Life Science, both at Northumbria. In the workshop, we discussed how we engage with our own students and it was interesting to see how many universities use the same approaches but also struggle to engage with a lot of students who go off the radar during the duration of their degree programmes. Jonathan and Rebekah introduced us to the work that Huddersfield SU has done, including the engagement pyramid and four segments, with the intention being that all different kinds of student have their needs met, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender and background. This session was very engaging and has left me thinking about how important it is that I return to my own university (Northumbria), and particularly the SU, to look at how we engage our own students and measure the success of doing so.

Professor Philip Darbyshire provided us with the third keynote of the conference and posed the question, does healthcare education have a future? Of course healthcare education has a future, but I don’t think any of us know what this may look like. What I do know is that based on what I have seen from this conference, the future is bright and I have seen some of the best examples of clinical educators with years of healthcare experience between them that leaves me confident that healthcare in higher education, students, future healthcare professionals and most importantly, our patients are all in good hands.

As Professor Darbyshire said, we are in a very fortunate position to be allowed into people’s lives at some of the highest and lowest moments of their lives, we welcome new life into the world and see those at the opposite end of life’s spectrum out on their final journey and it is important that we never lose sight of this privilege.

My main take away from this year’s conference is that as healthcare professionals, we are better together and I will never tire of seeing how healthcare can thrive, nationally and internationally when we share our knowledge and experience with one another for the benefit of the most important people, our healthcare service users.

Once again, thank you very much to Advance HE for welcoming me into such a positive environment and allowing me to blog and tweet my experiences. Congratulations to those who were awarded for their presentations this year, all of the first-time presenters and veterans of the conference who may have presented on a number of occasions over the years. Thank you also to Keele University for being fantastic hosts and looking after us all so well. I hope that everyone is home safe, as inspired as I am and motivated to continue working hard.

Advance HE has a strong programme of conferences throughout the year for all engaged in HE, whether leaders, practitioners or Governors, supporting institutions at all levels. Find out more about 2019-20 conferences

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