Reflections on the Florence Nightingale Foundation Conference 2013

It was a real pleasure to attend the Florence Nightingale Foundation Conference 2013 a couple of weeks ago. It was a real nursing leadership conference – the hall was rammed with some of the most inspirational nurses you could wish to meet; nurses committed to making a real difference for patients. It was a real change for me – a nursing focussed conference rather than an IT one!
We also had the opportunity to hear some really good speakers and this blog is my reflections about some of the messages that resonated with me – a personal reflection rather than a full account of the event.

First of all I attended a really interesting session about Schwartz rounds, presented by Jocelyn Cornwell from the Kings Fund and Vanessa Snowdon-Carr and Martine Price from Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton where Schwartz rounds have been implemented. Schwartz rounds provide monthly one hour sessions where staff can discuss the emotional issues that arise from delivering care. The originated in the US where healthcare attorney Ken Schwartz, who died at 40 years of age of lung cancer, left a lasting legacy of a center that nurtures compassion in care-giving.

You can find out more about the Center here:

The Kings Fund is running pilots of Schwarz rounds in the UK and is looking for more sites. You can find out more here:

I found the idea of staff being able to talk about topics such as ‘the patient I remember’ very moving and I found that I could remember a number of patients who had stayed ‘with’ me for many years.

We also had a fascinating presentation from Professor Davina Allen, a Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow. Davina’s research is looking at what nurses actually do, how their work is organised and structured and hopes to describe the complexity of nursing – it’s a fascinating analysis that she described as ‘An Articulation of Healthcare’. Davina observed 40+ hours of nursing activity and has analysed this to describe in new ways some of the complex things that nurses actually do; issues like negotiating transition and information. Davina was describing her early findings and I’m looking forward to hearing more. There has never been a more important time for us to be able to describe and evidence what nurses actually do in more than a task orientated way.
[It was interesting to see and meet Davina – she is one of my fellow Johnson & Johnson/Kings Fund leadership group (please see previous blog)! As is Martine Price from Musgrove Park Hospital. – It’s a very small world!]
There were 2 speakers who said things in their sessions that really resonated with me. Ros Moore CNO for Scotland said two important things:


Ros indicated that she even used this language and approach when talking to ministers – interesting! I thought this was particularly important in terms of achieving a change in culture and emphasis. If we share a common language and it is orientated towards improvement surely this will help us to improve safety and care? Ros’s point was also reinforced later by a presentation by Jason Leitch (@jasonleitch) – equally impressive and consistent. It may be that consistency is important?
More about Scotland’s improvement policy can be found here:

Ros’s second point was a line on her strategy slide:

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I thought placing trust in people in the system demonstrates value and encourages people to perform at their best. I liked it.
Finally, the one point that has really stuck with me was a point from Dame Ruth Carnell. Ruth was a great speaker, she was honest warm and engaging but she also said some very important things. The most important for me was about the leaders of the future.

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Ruth said that we needed to think about inversion of leadership. What I think she meant was that the elder leaders in the system needed to focus on bringing the new generation of leaders to the fore, to supporting them to mature as the brilliant leaders we will need in the system for future generations.

This made me reflect again on my blog on eldership:
I definitely will be focussing how I can help/support/coach and mentor young leaders and I have made this one of my #NHSChangeDay pledges!
Watch out for next year’s Florence Nightingale Foundation Conference. If it’s a good as this one I hope to be there 

One thought on “Reflections on the Florence Nightingale Foundation Conference 2013

  1. Hi Annie,
    Thanks for sharing this, interesting to hear what’s going on as well as how you made connections with and amongst it, thank you.

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