Discovering how nurses learn, work and practice in another country can improve healthcare, according to organizers of the third annual Global Nursing Conference held in May at the University of Chester in England. And with big healthcare changes happening here in the U.S., theres no better time to share knowledge.
“There are just so many possibilities,” said Victoria King, RN, MSN, MHA, CNOR, NEA-BC, CNO at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston. “Im very excited to meet with colleagues who think differently, work differently and educate differently, and ultimately make healthcare better for them and for us.”
King helped plan the event along with MH-TMC human resources system executive Tanya D. Cook.
“Although the U.S. and the U.K. have very different health systems, we share similar issues when it comes to providing quality patient care,” Cook said.Mike Thomas, RMN
The event was attended by about 400 Texas and U.K. nurses and made possible through a sponsorship from Stewart Morris Sr., a prominent Texas businessman and a founding father of Houston Baptist University. It alternates each year between Houston and Chester and is a joint venture between MH-TMC and HBU.
“We work together with our partners in the U.K. to come up with the topics,” King said. “Wed love to expand it more. There are things they are doing in the U.K. that we are going to be doing here in the U.S.”
The conference offered an opportunity to share best practices and discuss topics such as mental health screenings, leadership in a new age of nursing, quality initiatives and healthcare reform. Texas nurses toured several U.K. facilities with members of the National Health Service, visiting two nurse-run clinics in different neighborhoods.
“Theyve made a completely self-service clinic,” King said. “You can get medications, tests, X-rays, lab work, psychiatric counseling, social work. Its kind of a one-stop shop for their patients, and its really well done.”
King said the U.K. is great at using their APNs, which gave her insight into doing something similar at MH-TMC. In turn, she reciprocated by sharing MH-TMCs greatest strength. “At Memorial Hermann, were very focused on patient safety,” King said. “Its the banner were carrying at this point. We have had very good results with our patients, so we shared best practices with them.”
Information from the conference benefits nursing care in both countries because of the relationships between the network of senior clinicians, policymakers and future practitioners who share research and viewpoints. The exchange of ideas is exciting because of the benefits brought to clinical practice, according to University of Chester professor Mike Thomas, RMN, pro-vice chancellor (academic), PhD, MA (law), BNurs, RNT, Cert Ed, FRSA, MBPS, FHEA.
“For example, the world-class Intensive and Critical Care instruction shared by Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston provide valuable experience opportunities for U.K. nurses, which they can then bring back to their own hospitals in the U.K.,” Thomas said. “Similarly, the community and illness prevention experiences offered through the University of Chester and the National Health Service in the U.K. is of great interest to practitioners in Texas who have to manage the move toward a less intensive hospital-based patient experience.”
For the future, the Texas nurses discussed with the National Health Service a possible program in which student nurses are educated in both countries in their fourth year of schooling. Partnering educationally will ensure U.S. nurses are getting the same education as their U.K. counterparts so theyre prepared to work in either country.
Next March, King and Cook will get to meet and discuss opportunities with Englands CNO of the NHS Commissioning Board Jane Cummings. “Thats pretty incredible,” King said.
And then there is talk of expanding the countries included in the conference. For example, the U.K. has strong connections to Uganda. “We want to reach out to nurses there and share our knowledge with them,” King said.
Also, she envisions a website where nurses everywhere could share what theyre doing.
“Thats the ultimate goal, to make sure everyone has the best information available to take care of their patients,” King said.