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NET conference: Day One

04 Sep 2019 | Kayleigh McElderry-Wilkinson Kayleigh McElderry-Wilkinson is an undergraduate Adult Nurse at Northumbria University. As a member of the Student Blog Squad at the NET Conference 2019 she shares her highlights of Day One.

Tuesday 3 September marked the beginning of the 30th anniversary of NET, the leading annual international networking in healthcare education conference at Keele University.

The morning began with a welcome from the NET organising committee. It was interesting to hear about the history of the local area around Keele from its thriving industry to subsequent industrial decline and the health inequalities that currently exist. This highlights the importance of education and collaborative practice amongst the attending delegates, all with varying degrees of experience and from different healthcare backgrounds. This year, there is a vast diversity of delegates, with individuals from 18 countries which I believe is testament to the success of the past three decades.

Helen O’Sullivan, Professor of Medical Education at Keele University gave the first keynote on digital healthcare education, “The virtual doctor will see you now”. This presentation was very thought provoking and raised many questions from the audience. Current themes such as eLearning and blended learning were raised, something I am familiar with in my own university (Northumbria). Some of the key drivers for digital healthcare education include the provision of flexibility and cost-effectiveness with improvements in access to healthcare education on a global scale. Professor O’Sullivan touched on the Topol Review (2019). Delegates were encouraged to think about barriers to digital healthcare education, and this is a topic I believe will be revisited over the duration of the conference as delegates present their own research with regards to technology in education. In my pre-conference blog I highlighted my interest in student engagement as someone who held an academic rep role with Northumbria Students’ Union for two years and struggled to get to the root of student disengagement, particularly amongst health and life science students. Both themed sessions I attended at NET today focussed on student experience and engagement. I was particularly impressed by the presentation from Karen Connor of Edge Hill University who discussed student engagement from second year nurses and raised the idea of the “Sophomore slump”, an idea which initially came out of the United States. In my inter-trimester week before I transition into my third year I was able to reflect on my own experiences of the ‘year two blues’ and I highlighted how great it was to see my own thoughts which I was unable to put into words during my second year, being presented on a screen. The final session of the day was delivered by Professor Philip Darbyshire which covered the delicate topic of the culture of bullying and incivility in Nursing and Healthcare. Kayleigh McElderry-Wilkinson is an undergraduate Adult Nurse at Northumbria University. She is former lead representative for the HLS Faculty at the university and President of the IPL Society at Northumbria Students’ Union. Follow @KMWilkinsonStN on Twitter during #NETConf19

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