Romie Thompson writes:
As third year students the opportunity arose to attend a conference in London surrounding the future of mental health nursing. Its overall aim: to bring together students, professionals and various support networks, who all are inspired to work together to celebrate innovative research, highlight the importance of networking and focus on the positive services we have .
My journey began as a true northerner: 8am rush and completely baffled by a multi-coloured tube map. Coffee in hand I fumbled my way around the underground excited and slightly nervous about what the day had in store. On arriving at the 02 we received our goodie bags, lanyards and the communication point #futuremhn. This small # opened up an area in which everyone could communicate with one another via social media - opening the floor for questions to speakers.
As the conference began introductions were given and it was straight into guest speakers looking at various topics via discussion, entertainments and social networking.
Jo Brand and Dr Edana Minghella spoke about their experiences of training as nurses and their time as practising nurses. The anecdotes allowed for messages to be translated across with both humour and sensitivity. It was intriguing to find that student experiences could still be so relatable. Both ladies provided an insight into how services have changed and possibility how the future of care may develop- with emphasis on the need of humour and compassion throughout tanning and qualification.
Following this we were introduced to a man named Tommy Whitehall. He spoke about the personal battle he and his mother faced when she was diagnosed with dementia. This truly heart-warming speech moved everyone in the room, with many shedding a few tears. His main focus through his campaign is to empower and provide understanding to many who may feel lost and isolated. Through Tommy’s story the message that stood clear was the ability to help someone with kindness and an understanding of their situation. This speech drew attention to the need for polices and strategies , but most importantly it’s the frontline staff who have the ability to transform the lives of services users and carers.
Next Justyn Rees Larcombe spoke about his crippling struggle with addiction. Speaking from the heart he shared intimate details of how his life went from perfect to rock bottom. Explaining how after an established career in the army, meeting his wife and having a child while moving into a high position in insurance. However Justyn spoke about how his life began to unravel and spiral out of control due to his gambling addiction. This addiction brought his life to a halt, with deceit and bets taking over. It was fantastic to listen to how he had turned his life around from rock bottom and still has a supportive family and children despite the heartache caused.
After lunch the discussions and talks continued with some student input among the various professionals and health education providers - who spoke about leading and innovative research, strategies across the trusts and how networking can be a beneficial support tool. Overall a fab day full of inspiration. Travelling home with fellow students allowed for reflection upon a wonderful day. Despite feeling tired all agreed that a someone throughout the day had stirred up emotions to motivate and inspire us to be the best nurses possible.