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Delegates from NET 2019 share their experiences of presenting at conference

21 Jan 2020 | Advance HE As the call for papers deadline approaches for NET 2020, we spoke to some of the speakers at NET 2019 to get their impressions of presenting at conference.

NET is the leading international conference for networking in healthcare education and this year is set to take place on 8-10 September. Over the years, NET’s networking opportunities have spawned both national and international collaborations in research and education developments.

Below are some testimonials from last year’s speakers, who describe the positive experiences they had presenting at the event.

Dr Beverley Allan (MRSC, SFHEA), Assistant Professor and Co-Course Director for Foundation Science, University of Nottingham

"My experience of presenting at the Advance HE NET Conference in 2019 couldn’t have been more positive.

“Being relatively new to practitioner educational research, this was my first national conference presentation and I was somewhat nervous in terms of how my work would be received by the audience, particularly those more experienced. However, I found the audience to be very welcoming and open to the ideas presented. Conference attendees that had experience of the material I presented, used their experience to help generate discussion, pose additional ideas and generally support the work being presented.

“The opportunity to present at this conference really helped develop my confidence to discuss my own teaching and learning experiences and ideas with others. In addition to this, it also exposed me to new ideas and ways in which I could further develop my approaches to teaching and learning."

Malou Stoffels, Amsterdam Medical Center

“Attending the NET 2019 conference was an inspirational and boosting experience. Coming from another country, it was interesting to see the extent to which we encounter the same problems in healthcare education globally and to see how we look for similar solutions. The programme contained a good balance between practical tips and applications and scientific foundations. 

“I always enjoy conveying my own work to a new audience. In this conference, this was highly facilitated by the supportive and experienced convenors, who both allowed me to feel at ease and encouraged valuable exchange of ideas and discussion. The convenors created or strengthened cohesion between the different presentations within a session, leading to greater awareness of the topic among the audience and presenters as well as the generation of new thoughts and ideas.

“I would definitely recommend submitting a paper to this conference as it allows you to share, test and enrich your ideas in a friendly and encouraging environment.”

Dr Craig Phillips, Lecturer in Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia

“Attendance at NET is always a most rewarding experience; for collaboration, sharing and learning with other academics, clinicians and researchers. I have found the environment of the NET conference to be supportive, interested and most collegial in nature.

“I am an academic from Australia and have taken the opportunity to present and attend a conference such as this as my research is appreciated and the feedback I have received both from delegates in the audience and follow-up email is very encouraging.

“One of the best features of NET is the opportunity for networking, at all levels. I have been able to engage with senior researchers regarding current research projects with the view of future collaboration. Equally, I have been able to spend much time with undergraduate and higher degree student delegates and presenters, encouraging them with their work.

“I understand that presenting for the first time, particularly to an international audience can be daunting, however, NET and Advance HE do a great job in supporting student presenters.”

Jill Morgan, Lecturer in Physiotherapy, Cardiff University

“The Advance HE NET conference provided an international stage for me to talk about my work and interests in formative assessment and student experience.  I was initially concerned that the conference was directed towards Nursing education, but this has proved not to the case at all.  In fact, there were all manner of healthcare professionals and educators in the room for my presentation. 

“It was great to get feedback from outside of my own discipline and also rewarding to network with others who had similar educational interests.  In fact, on the back of some of the conversations I had at NET 2019 I have successfully submitted other elements of work, which I had perceived to be only a local issue, to additional conferences internationally. 

“The support at the NET conference is excellent. Constructive criticism and feedback is encouraged and the ability to chat with experienced academics and educators in such a friendly environment is something I have not really felt at other events.  It’s hard to come away from that event without feeling re-energised about healthcare education.”

Deveree Stewart, Lecturer, University of the West Indies School of Nursing, Mona in Jamaica

“Attending NET 2019 was an empowering experience for me personally and professionally. Completing the application form was easier than I thought as the instructions were clear and the steps were easy to follow. Finding a place to stay close to the venue as I was travelling from overseas was also done with ease. I had never presented at an overseas conference before and as such was very apprehensive.

“Unlike having students in a classroom setting, these individuals were my peers. I was thinking that I am being observed by peers who may be critical of my presentation. The experience however was very much the opposite.

“On the day of the presentation, I attended sessions to get a feel of what the atmosphere of the room may be like. Although I found the sessions quite relaxed, I was still a little nervous. My time to present came and went much quicker than I thought. Question time was more information sharing, encouragement and exploration of areas for further research and development. I would encourage colleagues to present as it facilitated opportunities for networking and future collaborations.”

Elizabeth Meakin, Midwifery Lecturer, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Keele University

“Novice at NET: Was it really all that bad? On reflection, I can definitely say no. As with any public speaking, there is always some level of apprehension (well, there is for me anyway). Yet NET was different from other conferences that I had spoken at. The division of speakers into smaller rooms allowed for a friendly feel, more like a discussion with peers around the topics being discussed.

“Additionally, the layout to the day allowed for you to mingle freely and have a good look at what other HEIs were up to. I only wished I had attended for the full three days!”

The deadline for abstract submissions is 21 February, submit your paper for NET 2020 here.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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