Keynotes 2019

Keynotes 2019

“Moral Courage: Meeting the Challenges of a Contemporary Healthcare System”

Our Keynotes for the 34th Annual BACCN Conference in Karin Gerber, Conference Director

Alex Wubbles in her closing keynote session last year in Bournemouth reminded us in a very poignant yet powerful manner that being a nurse means protecting and advocating for your patient even in extreme circumstances. Having the moral courage to do that can be challenging, but it is possible with the empowering support of your team.

Like Alex I’m passionate about patient advocacy and safety and like her I strive to maintain my high standards & passion for nursing care which exists due to both the mentorship and leadership I’ve been exposed to and experienced throughout my nursing career.

With this in mind, I’m delighted to share the full line-up of keynotes speakers who will join us in Edinburgh:

Salisbury Critical Care Team

Dr Kate Jenkins, Clinical Psychologist, Salisbury NHSFT

Kate is a Clinical Psychologist, who specialised in working with patients with physical health problems when she completed her Doctorate at Southampton University.

She has worked at Salisbury District Hospital since 2006 and is the Lead Psychologist for ITU, Trauma Orthopaedics, Cancer and Palliative Care, as well as providing psychological assessment and interventions to patients with other physical health problems across the hospital.

In 2018 Kate took the lead in providing all the psychological interventions and support for staff at Salisbury District Hospital during the longest running major incident in NHS history.

Dr James Haslam, Consultant Intensivist, Salisbury NHSFT

Dr James Haslam is a Consultant in Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. He has interests in ethics, mechanical ventilation and education. Along with his Critical Care team, he diagnosed and cared for the critically ill patients during the Salisbury nerve agent incident.

Helen Aldridge RN, BSc (Hons), PGCE

Helen has been a registered nurse for over 25 years, specialising in critical care and spinal injuries and is currently working as a spinal nurse specialist. She has a special interest in the care of the deteriorating patient and those with complex needs. She is passionate about education and is a member of the BACCN Wessex committee.

During the major incidents at Salisbury she was the lead nurse for critical care services, which required her to take on a multifaceted clinical and operational role.

On the 4th March 2018, the peace and quiet of the beautiful medieval city of Salisbury was shattered. The local district hospital was thrown into the centre of what was to become the longest running major incident ever experienced in the NHS. This talk will present a timeline of those events, from the admission of the initial three casualties, to the international focus that followed when it transpired they had been poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.

Told from the perspective of the lead ITU nurse, ITU Consultant and the unit’s Clinical Psychologist, the talk will follow the theme of moral courage, highlighting some of the obvious and perhaps less obvious challenges that arose over the next three months.

On 30th June 2018, just when it was all deemed to be over, two further victims of Novichok poisoning were admitted to Salisbury District Hospital. The timeline will go on to revisit those themes of moral courage and how the medical, logistical and personal challenges evolved throughout the second episode and beyond.

The speakers will take the time to answer some pre-submitted questions in as much detail as possible and will take questions from the floor on the day, but please be aware that due to the sensitive security issues around the case, they may be unable to answer every question. 


Dame Donna Kinnair

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, DBE, RGN, HV, LLB, MA, CMI is the Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK. The RCN promotes patient and nursing interests on a wide range of issues by working closely with the Government, the UK parliaments and other national and European political institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.

Working with the RCN Council and the Executive Team Donna is responsible for delivering the RCN's strategic and operational plans.Donna joined the RCN as Head of Nursing in 2015, she was then promoted and joined the RCN Executive Team to Director of Nursing, Policy and Practice in 2016, where her key role is to work with UK-wide RCN staff to drive and implement the future RCN professional nursing, policy and practice strategy.

Prior to joining the RCN Donna held various roles including Clinical Director of Emergency Medicine; Executive Director of Nursing and Director of Commissioning. Donna advised the PM’s Commission on the future of Nursing and Midwifery in 2010 and served as nurse/child health assessor to the Victoria Climbié Inquiry.

Simon Edgar - Finding Joy in Work: A roadmap to clinical engagement

Simon Edgar, MBChB, Director of Medical Education, NHS Lothian

Simon Edgar, MBChB, FRCA, MSc, FAcadMEd, a consultant anaesthetist living and working in Edinburgh, is Director of Medical Education for NHS Lothian. As a clinician educator, he has held a number of positions in university, deanery, and health board settings. At NHS Lothian, he provides broad-ranging input into high-quality clinical education for undergraduates and postgraduate doctors in training.

Dr. Edgar's academic interests are in simulation for learning, systems improvement, and development of faculty. He believes passionately in the power of relationships, in the development of individuals to achieve their best, and in the strength of effective teamwork and joy in work. Dr. Edgar is a graduate of the Intermountain Healthcare advanced training program in leadership for health care delivery improvement, and he set up the Lothian Improvement Academy, mentoring the first cohort through the leadership program. He has a master's degree in medical education from Edinburgh University.

“We are significantly damaging the health and wellbeing of a significant % of the UK population by asking them to care for & promote the health & wellbeing of the rest of the UK 4-nation population” Michael West ’19

I am intrigued by data that suggests a focus on Joy-in-work can foster a healthy, happy and productive workforce.
Did you know that over 50% of Drs in training and career grade clinicians are experiencing symptoms of burnout? This is having a detrimental impact on their ability to empathise with and connect to colleagues and patients in the health setting and importantly has real impact on the rate of safety incidents and patient complaints. I know personally of a number of clinicians who describe themselves a “burnt-out”. This is not just a Dr problem though, 4 out of every 10 new nurses consider leaving their job in the first year of practice; we have a problem in our system.

But joy is so much more than the absence of burnout. Joy is about engaging our workforce with a shared purpose, supporting them to get better at something that really matters and giving staff control over their work practices and workplace in a way that promotes well-being and engagement.
There is a road-map…....let’s talk!

Dr Theresa Shaw

The stark reality is that there will never be enough critical care units and enough beds, resources or nurses to care for all people requiring critical care.  Consequently, adaptation, flexibility, resilience and skill-sharing have become fundamental in critical care provision.  This has implications for nursing training, skills development and inter-professionalism.

Theresa is the outgoing CEO of the Foundation of Nursing Studies (FoNS). She’s passionate about nursing and enabling nurses to flourish as caring, knowledgeable and skilled practitioners. As CEO, she is proud of the work FoNS has contributed to this and to developing nursing practice and improving patient experience of care. Her doctoral research offers an important view into the impact of practice development and service improvement activity and ways in which such work can be effective in creating more person-centred practice and culture. 

She has worked in the NHS for many years during which time her experience spanned clinical nursing, nurse education and practice development. Whilst her clinical expertise lies in the field of Cardio-thoracic Nursing, Theresa has worked with and supported nurses and nurse-led teams across the healthcare practice.

I asked Theresa to speak at this year’s event as someone who has personally & professionally benefited from the work that FoNS and Theresa do in setting up a “patient and relative activated rapid response system” (the first of its kind in the UK now nearly 7 years ago). She will share her views on how we can get more critical care nurses involved in the development of not just themselves, but more importantly to continue to develop the art and science of critical care nursing being delivered to our patients and their loved ones every day.


Christie Watson

Christie Watson is an award winning, bestselling writer. She has a special interest in nursing and mental health having spent twenty years working as a nurse, and holds an honorary Doctor of Letters for her contribution to nursing and the arts. She is Patron of the Royal College of Nursing Foundation.

Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, won the Costa First Novel and Waverton Good read awards and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, also international achieved critical acclaim.

photo credit: Peter Clark

Her non-fiction The Language of Kindness, was published in 2018 and was a number one Sunday Times Bestseller. It was a Book of the Year in The Evening Standard, New Statesman, The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times. Is has been translated into 23 languages, and spent five months in the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller lists. It is currently being adapted for theatre and television.

Christie believes that nursing matters now more than ever before. We live in a time of so much suffering, and there are many challenges. But there is much to celebrate and shout about too. Her presentation will focus on the importance of raising the voices and profile of nursing, and why critical care nurses will have such an impact on individual lives, wider society - and politics - over the next decade.

This session will be the lead in to our 35th BACCN Annual Conference in Nottingham in September 2020 with the title: “Critical Care Nursing: The Next Decade”. In 2020, the BACCN will be joining the World Health Organisation and International Council of Nurses “NursingNow2020” campaign to raise the status and profile of nursing with the aim to take our place at the heart of tackling 21st Century health challenges.  

For more information and to register for this year’s event, visit