Author: Godson, Rosalind
Date published: May 1, 2012
The keynote speaker at this excellent one-day conference in London was Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company, who is always worth listening to. She described how she has studied child psychotherapy and decided to set up a drop-in service as a place of safety for vulnerable young people in London several years ago.
Ms Batmanghelidjh encompasses child and adolescent mental health as a crusade, and explained the neuro-physiological damage many children sustain owing to their adverse circumstances. She explained that the 'system' thinks that behind every child there is a 'competent carer' whereas, in fact, many children and young people suffer from 'motherlessness'.
The model required is a combination of psycho/medico/social interventions. She asked whether budget holders are making ethical decisions when designing services for young people, and called for a Royal Commission to thoroughly examine the issue. For those who are not familiar with her work, visit: www. youtube.com/watch ?v=mrk2wKN40j4
Catherine Kelsey, a Queen's Nurse, described her research project, 'a model of excellence for practice teachers', and asked who is benchmarking practice-based evidence. She also gave a plug for the Queen's Nurse award and asked those present to publicise it.
There was a presentation by Dr Jane MarchMcDonald on cultural notions of resilience, risk and protection, where she described Somali women's approach to 'strength' as homemaker, but not outside the home. She thought that health professionals need to understand the role religion plays in society and be cautious about making assumptions about how individuals and communities respond culturally to adversity and life in exile. Culture is dynamic and has many influences.
Karen Downer, a school nurse, reported on a health-related absence project, which was set up to reduce sickness absence from school. The outcomes were positive, but would need resourcing. Parents were very keen on the pocket guide to illnesses they could fix to the fridge, and liked to be able to contact the school nurse each morning.
After an excellent buffet lunch, we continued with Wendy Wigley who explored 'What influence might practice experiences have on pre-registration nursing students' awareness and understanding of their own spirituality?' This was followed by Lynn Sayer and Val Thurtle's audit on SCPHN course data.
Group discussion centred on the pressures caused by the increase in health visitor students. Issues raised were cultural approaches to learning and the variable expectations and standards of students, leading to timeconsuming monitoring and higher than desirable attrition rates. Some practice teachers do not realise that dyslexic students can get support from HR departments, in the form of computers and dictaphones.
There were plenty of networking opportunities, and delegates left with a renewed sense of camaraderie.
Unite Health Sector