As a society we face huge challenges in tackling the health and wellbeing of the population. We know the impact of lifestyle factors on health, and we understand more about the ‘causes of the causes.' We are learning more about how to support people to make decisions and choices which are positive for their health.
Dealing with these health care challenges of the 21st century means new ways of working for all healthcare professionals to help people live in the best health possible for as long as possible. Midwives and nurses can make a real impact, from ensuring a healthy start right through to the end of life.
It is really exciting that on 26th June over 300 practitioners from a range of services and settings will attend the first national nurses and midwives conference hosted by Public Health England (PHE) and Department of Health to hear about the latest thinking and advise us on next steps in improving the public’s health through maximising the key roles of nurses and midwives. (read more about the issues for discussion via the conference booklet Nursing_and_midwives_June2013)
Every nurse and midwife can become a health promoting practitioner by using their knowledge and skills to make a personal and professional impact. In addition to the nurses, midwives and health visitors working in specialist public heath roles, we all have the potential to make a difference to the public’s health throughout our interactions with patients, families and communities – ‘making every contact count’ for improved health and wellbeing.
Nurses and midwives have asked for a ‘practitioner friendly’ evidence-base to extend the range and reach of their inputs at patient, family and community levels. PHE, working with NICE, have produced this guidance which will be launched at the conference. Professionals want to be able to show they are making a difference and the conference will also launch a range of materials showing how we can impact on the Public Health Outcomes Framework. Public Health Nursing and Midwifery Materials
I am really looking forward to setting out the developing model for public health nursing and midwifery for England at the conference and with the wider professions. The model will support professional practice to promote good health and wellbeing outcomes and raise the profile of our professional contributions to prevention and reducing health inequalities.
We had a fantastic conference – so many people to thank! Nurses and midwives: thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and contribute to our ongoing professional developments for population health. Care makers and young people health champions: thank you for your energy, enthusiasm and help. Speakers and facilitators: I appreciate the time you took to share your expertise. I am grateful to professional bodies (including RCN RCM CPHVA iHV QNI) for their presence on the day and commitment to be partners in the drive to support practitioners to make every contact count. Thank you to the journals and journalists who shared the key public health messages and to all those who tweeted on the day – we made it the top trend!
PHE CE, Duncan Selbie, included this reflection in his national Friday message:
'This week we held our first national conference to celebrate and support the contribution of nursing and midwifery to improving and protecting the public’s health. Attended by more than 300 nurses and midwives, their energy and enthusiasm spilled over onto Twitter which was so active that the conference was trending top of the hot topics for a period. There are over 300,000 nurses and midwives providing care to people of all ages and in all settings in this country at the sharp end of the front line. They make a deep and compassionate difference to helping the vulnerable and to those whose health and wellbeing we most need to see improved. PHE will champion our nurses and midwives in every way possible.'