lunch and AGM
Reflections on the AGM
It didn’t cross my mind that a lovely sunny lunch with friends we hadn’t seen for several years during the summer of 2022 would lead to proofreading the UCH London Nurses’Charity magazine, involvement with the benevolent fund committee and attending the Annual Study Day and Charity Meeting! The repercussions of a reunion with wine can be significant.
Having been to my first UCH study day and ACM meeting I was asked to write a short reflection on the day.
It was a day of good food, and plenty of opportunity to socialise and indulge in a bit of nostalgia. From the pastries and coffee before the day kicked off – to an excellent lunch – then scones and tea in the afternoon.
The morning was the ‘study’ part of the day with two guest speakers. Both sessions were informative, engaging and lively. Caroline Dux spoke about her work with Palestinian refugee nurses at UCLH (you might have read about this in last year’s magazine). She told us about how she became involved in the project, the various organisations involved and the training sessions that prepare volunteers and healthcare professionals to support the refugees. We reflected on some of the shocking discrimination faced by people coming to work in this country and some of the idiosyncrasies of the English language (did you know how many words there are across the country for everyday items like bread rolls and a dressing gown). Caroline’s enthusiasm definitely made me want to find out about opportunities to be involved in this work.
I was excited to see Sally Parr was the other guest speaker as I had worked with her at Westminster Hospital many years ago. Sally spoke about her work as a psychotherapist supporting a team of nurses at the beginning of the pandemic. This talk made me reflect back on the difficulties of that time and the impact it had on all of us – it seems so long ago in some ways now – but as Sally reflected in her talk the legacy is still with us. It was fascinating to think about why healthcare professionals can be reluctant to take up support offered to them and to think about how we can find different ways of providing that support. Most importantly how do we keep the need to support nurses (and other health care professionals) high on the agenda? With the increasing number of vacancies across the country (I think Caroline referred to 40,000) it is an issue we need to tackle.
Both talks sparked plenty of questions and I certainly had plenty more I could have asked both speakers. I think we could have spent the rest of the day discussing both talks.
The afternoon was the ACM part of the day. We had informative and succinct presentations starting with the Chair’s report reflecting on the work the Charity has done to modernise. I was struck by how much work has been done to engage with members including using the very active UCH Facebook group. It was interesting to hear from the honorary secretary details of membership including that there are members spread across 15 countries!
This sparked a discussion between some of us during the final tea and scones about how to keep an organisation like the Charity relevant in times when nurses are no longer affiliated with a single training hospital. It was positive to hear that the Trustees are planning to write a long-term strategy for the charity.
I really enjoyed the day – and would encourage you to come along to the 2024 day! It comes with the benefit of being able to revisit local bars and restaurants in the evening.