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Valuable learning experience for delegates attending Critical Care conference


CCaNNI Network Manager Nichola Cullen, CCaNNI Lead Nurse Sheila Kinoulty, CMO Dr Michael McBride, CCaNNI Chair Margaret O’Hagan and CCaNNI Clinical Lead Dr Kara Dripps.

The achievements of front line critical care staff across Northern Ireland was celebrated at a conference held in Newtownabbey.

Critical Care Services are provided in adult intensive care units and high dependency units in nine acute hospitals across NI. The service provides intensive care to patients with life threatening illnesses following major, complex surgery and serious accidents.

Organised by the Critical Care Network Northern Ireland (CCaNNI), the event highlighted the excellent work that is being completed by Health and Social Care Trusts on issues surrounding the educational support of staff, improving the critically ill patient experience and bereavement support resources.

Opening this, the 10th conference, Department of Health Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Charlotte McArdle, acknowledged the, ‘amazing life transforming work’ undertaken by Critical Care staff.

The CNO added; “You are there when people are at their most vulnerable, and you stay with people until such times as they have recovered or provide comfort when the prognosis is not favourable to recovery.”

The event was attended by over 100 multidisciplinary critical care staff and management. Attendees heard from visiting speakers Dr Julie Highfield, Nadeem Khan and Catherine Veschambre who shared their experiences and research on critical care services and the impact on patients, family/carers and the workforce providing this care.

During the event, the CCaNNI outlined proposals to develop critical care information systems, educational resources and widening engagement structures to maximise the effectiveness of the network.

“The network members have shown their commitment to ensuring that the critical care services provided across our hospitals are of the highest quality. They have fully engaged in collaborative working, both regionally and nationally to develop and implement not only best practice, but innovative developments. This firm foundation of engagement and expertise will enable CCaNNI to support critical care staff in achieving the best outcomes for all users of our critical care services.” said Nichola Cullen, CCaNNI Network Manager.

At the Critical Care Network conference
Dr Julie Highfield, Prof Charlotte McArdle (CNO) Nadeem Khan, Catherine Veschambre (Service User)

Closing the Conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “I am greatly encouraged by the work around the critical care workforce and staff education and the ongoing work of CCaNNI around recruitment and retention across the critical care arena, this all aligns with the aim of supporting and empowering staff.

“The development of an updated critical care information system allowing for real time data capture will provide essential robust clinical data to inform service planning and improve patient care. This will contribute towards the establishment of a fully integrated critical care service that provides the right care in the right place at the right time for the population of Northern Ireland and this is what Delivering Together and the transformation programme is all about.”

–              The Critical Care Network Northern Ireland (CCaNNI) was established in 2006 to enable HSC staff and organisations to work in partnership and to coordinate the delivery of a safe and sustainable critical care service for the population of Northern Ireland. CCaNNI assists the HSC Trusts to delivery critical care services that adhere to local and national standards of service provision, whilst meeting the needs of our local population.

–              Dr Julie Highfield – Consultant Clinical Psychologist, NHS Wales, Associate Director Cardiff Critical Care, DCP Wales Honorary Secretary, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board. Her publications on moral distress in intensive care and sustainability of the critical care workforce have influenced the ongoing discussions around workforce recruitment and retention, across the critical care arena.

–              Catherine Veschambre is a service user who was an ICU patient aged 36 and attends ICU STEPS for support and to help improve critical care services by sharing her experience.

–              Nadeem Khan is a Professional Development Nurse currently working in the Adult Critical Care Unit, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford United Kingdom. Nadeem’s interest is predominantly education and professional workforce development in adult critical care areas.  He will reflect on his PhD study findings “nurses’ working conditions and factors influencing nurses’ intentions to leave adult critical care areas”.