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NET Conference has great in-person return

26 Sep 2022 | Advance HE Advance HE held the 32nd NET Conference this month, with the signature event returning to an in-person format whilst also embracing virtual conference-goers, allowing the conference to be viewed all around the world.

Advance HE’s signature networking conference for healthcare professionals, the 2022 NET Conference, returned in-person from 5-6 September at Lancaster University. Alongside those attending the conference in person, delegates from around the world could tune into the event through Zoom, which included colleagues from Australia, South Africa and Europe.

Professor Bridgette Bewick, a Professor in Psychological health, wellbeing, and education from the University of Leeds opened Day One of the conference with a keynote on inclusivity and belonging for all students in healthcare education. Her message was that both of these are absolutely vital and it’s the job of the entire healthcare community within universities to achieve these. Bridgette left the audience thinking what they could do right now with the quote, "Don’t underestimate the difference you can make!"  encouraging everyone to start now and not to just plan for long-term change.

Day Two of the conference was opened by Susan van Schalkwyk, the Director of the Centre for Health Professions Education at Stellenbosch University. Susan’s keynote was centred around transformative learning as a pedagogy for the health profession, arguing that the point of the curriculum in any health education “should be looking to produce graduates who can amongst all other things, be clinically competent…more responsive to global health care concerns and global health equity concerns”. Susan called transformative learning “a tool for us to use to make sense of what we do as teachers, as educators, as clinical supervisors… what we do and how we understand what we can do. Theories change over time, they can become flawed as a result of new perspectives and new contexts and they need to be amended.”

The main panel of Day Two featured four healthcare students talking about how to increase the sense of belonging for students as they go on their journey through their education. One student spoke about the importance of student spaces to go to either relax or get help from other students, and that students need to be made aware of these spaces from the get-go so they don’t have to ask lecturers and other members of staff later on. As well as the need for physical spaces was the need for a society, which often feels different from the hobby-oriented societies on campus.

Another point was the extra support needed for new students when on placement, both from the staff at the practices and from the university in making sure these students get a good blend of placement activities, as well as being able to balance those who are enjoying their placement and wish to stay longer, and those who want to move on sooner. The panel was very well received by those in attendance, some of whom commented to the panel that they would be making changes to their programmes based on what they had heard.

A poster session on Day Two featured Josephina Price of St George's University London who presented the postgraduate experience of problem-based learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite running into several problems due to the pandemic, a list of recommendations were made with how the hybrid model of in-person and virtual problem-based teaching could be incorporated in the future.

Members of Edge Hill University discussed how students can be empowered to progress in the fields of leadership and teaching by using simulation-based education, both vital skills for those who want to become registered nurses. Meanwhile, Gwyneth Hayward of Cardiff University presented a poster on the university offering, encouraging the choice to learn in the Welsh language through their ‘Active Offer’, and seeing the effect it had on student perceptions of the undergraduate physiotherapy programme.

Nineteen sessions across the two days of the 2022 NET Conference saw between three and five different speakers, all covering a wide range of in-depth subjects including mental health of students and teachers, the evolution of technology within the sector, and the challenges faced and solutions found through the Covid-19 pandemic.

’It was great to be able to hold NET 2022 as a hybrid conference, the buzz of delegates meeting again and sharing their health education practice provided a sense of belonging for everyone which is a key part of the NET ethos. The student voice also emerged as a strong focus of the conference with students presenting in nearly every session as well as the panel on day 2. Overall lots to think about and take away as we begin to plan for NET 2023."

Dr Celia Brigg, Associate Director for Conferences and Events 

Advance HE Conferences
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. 

To celebrate the launch of our new programme and events portfolio for 2022-23 we are offering a 10% early booking discount on selected programmes and events for bookings made before 30 September 2022. Find out more


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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