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14th October 2013, 12:01pm
Student nurse Charlotte arranges conference to 'stop the pressure'
Nursing student A student nurse from the University of Lincoln is taking a lead role in the national drive to prevent pressure ulcers by arranging a conference to raise awareness among her fellow students.

Charlotte Johnston, who is entering the second year of her Nursing degree in Lincoln’s School of Health and Social Care, was inspired to organise the event after responding to a comment on Twitter from Ruth May, NHS England’s Chief Nurse for the Midlands & East, about the wider NHS ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign.

Ruth May will now be among the speakers at the student conference Charlotte has organised. Around 500 students are expected to attend the event, which will take place at the University of Lincoln on 15th October 2013.

Other speakers include representatives from the Clinical Research Trials Institute, NHS Quest and United Lincoln Hospitals NHS Trust. Representatives from Health Education England will also be in attendance and NHS England’s chief nursing officer Jane Cummings has expressed her support. NHS Improving Quality (NHS IQ), the driving force for improvement across the NHS in England, is also supporting Charlotte in putting on the conference.

The majority of pressure ulcers are preventable and could be avoided through simple actions by frontline healthcare staff, and by patients and carers. As well as causing long term pain and distress for patients, treatment for each pressure ulcer costs an average of £4,638 – which causes a financial burden on the NHS of between £1.4 and £2.1 billion per year.

Charlotte said: “Having previously worked as a healthcare assistant, it came as news to me when I became a student nurse to learn that pressure ulcers were preventable. Learning to ‘stop the pressure’ via my first placement was a turning point for me in my student career. I wanted every student to have the same education around the subject as I have been given, to understand the impact of pressure ulcers from a service user’s point of view, to be inspired to take action, and to have the confidence to put their skills and knowledge into practice.”

The conference is intended to educate, inspire and motivate student nurses to adopt and share best practice around prevention of pressure ulcers, and will cover theory and tools that can be used straight away in practice placements. An essential component of the day will involve students making pledges to take the learning from the day forward, linked to NHS Change Day 2014. The event is also intended as a catalyst for other student nurses across the country to run similar conferences at their places of learning.

Ruth May, chief nurse, NHS England (Midlands & East), said: “The stop the pressure campaign has successfully managed to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers across midlands and east. This conference is a way of continuing the improvement – the energy and enthusiasm that Charlotte has brought to the campaign is fantastic, and we feel privileged to have her on board.”

Dr. Paul Linsley, principal lecturer and academic lead for mental health nursing at the University of Lincoln, said: “The University of Lincoln is delighted to support Charlotte in organising this innovative conference. The prevention of pressure ulcers forms a fundamental component to the practical skills training undertaken by our student nurses. It’s good to see this message being taken forward by one of our students in such an inspirational manner.”

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