Meet the Speakers

Meet the Speakers

Why I asked them to join us at #BACCNConf2020 “Critical Care Nursing: the next decade”

by Karin Gerber; BACCN Conference Director

At a time of great global economic uncertainty with growing patient numbers across all spectrums of health and social care, there’s an increasing evidence base that points to the need for more highly educated nurses.  This is in stark contrast with what is currently happening: student nursing bursaries being cut alongside a significant drop in funding being made available for continuous professional development as well as ongoing post graduate education. Worldwide, nurses have developed themselves into professionals with a great deal of knowledge, skills and experience. Despite these developments towards professionalisation, previous studies on this subject have shown that nurses are not given due recognition for the skills they have by much of the public. This is on a backdrop of ongoing issues surrounding pay, staffing, workload and the effect our chosen profession has on our overall health and wellbeing with increasing recognition of burnout syndrome.

We are also moving into an ever increasing digital / technological environment within Critical Care and it’s important that we reflect on how we ensure that we maintain the human touch of nursing for both our patients and their loved one’s i.e. overall art and science of Critical Care Nursing.

With the above in mind, I’ve asked the following colleagues to undertake this year’s keynote sessions:

Professor Dame Elizabeth Nneka Anionwu DBE FRCN, Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London (UWL)

In the search for someone truly inspirational to open the 35th BACCN Annual Conference where we'll also be celebrating the WHO Year of the Nurse & Midwife, Ian Naldrett (Regional Advisor) pointed me in the direction of Professor Elizabeth Anionwu, who happened to also be an Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London, where Ian is the Lecturer for Intensive Care Nursing.  We both had heard the most amazing things about her career and influence in nursing both in national media, as well as via social media (we both had been following her on Twitter) but also through talking to numerous lecturers at the College of Nursing who all described her as "inspiring". Her work certainly led Ian to change his teaching on haematological disorders in critical care to focus more on the management of acute haemoglobinopathy including sickle cell anaemia.  After learning more about the great work she's done he now mainly focuses on the importance of patient-centred care, including patients and carers in decision making and giving back control from the medical ICU team to the expert patient and involving specialist nurses in the care of the ICU patient.   
In 1979 she ran the first UK sickle cell/thalassaemia nurse counselling service in Brent & co-founded the UK Sickle Cell Society. Prior to retirement in 2007, she was:

  • Head of the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice at UWL
  • Vice-Chairperson of the successful Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal. 
  • Listed as one of the top 70 influential nurses and midwives in the NHS between 1948 and 2018.
  • Elizabeth’s well-received 2016 autobiography describes overcoming an extremely challenging childhood: ‘Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union’ is available on Amazon as a paperback & e-book.

She was made a Dame in 2017 for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal and in 2019 received 4 Honorary Doctorate Degrees as well as the Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award. 

We are truly honoured to have such an eminent nurse giving up her time to join us this year as our opening keynote speaker.  I had asked her to focus on how we can link and build on the work of those that came before us to help us inspire the new generation of nurses as well as those of us that's been doing it for a while and sometimes finding it hard to relocate/renew our passion and energy to keep going.  I'm therefore really looking forward to her presentation: "From Sickle to Seacole" on Monday morning. 

Website: Twitter: @EAnionwu

Richard Trimlett, Consultant Cardiac Surgeon & VA ECMO Lead; Royal Brompton Hospital         

Richard spent more than 18 years, working in cardio-thoracic centres specialising in heart and lung transplant, ventricular assist devices, ECMO (both VA & VV) and various other methods of support including Impella and Destintation Devices, both in the UK and the USA. He was responsible for the setting up and running of an ECMO service which grew out of the existing VAD Programme. Richard has chaired sessions at international meetings on VA-ECMO and VAD support, published in peer-reviewed journals and written book chapters on this subject. He also has an ongoing research project in the field of additive manufacture as applied to mechanical support pump and technology design with an interest in destination therapy.

Richard has long been an advocate for the development of advanced nursing alongside and within current/future services for patients on mechanical devices and regularly directs training for nurses around ECMO support with a focus on safe rapid cannulation techniques. He also is a visionary of the future utilising 3-dimensional printing and CAD design for the development of new surgical techniques and processes. He has a passion for utilising innovation to save the lives of those in extremis pushing the boundaries of possibility.

Bryn Baxendale; Consultant Anaesthetist & Trent Simulation & Clinical Skills Centre at Nottingham

Bryn is a Consultant Anaesthetist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH). His clinical work is primarily covering emergency, major trauma and vascular surgical services. He helped design the Trent Simulation & Clinical Skills Centre at NUH and has been Director of this regional facility since it opened in 2004. In 2009 he was appointed as an Honorary Professor of Clinical Simulation at the School of Psychology, University of Nottingham. He became the inaugural President of the Association of Simulated Practice in Healthcare ( from 2009-14, which is now the leading UK organisation addressing the use of simulation to enhance professional training and patient safety in healthcare.  He currently co-chairs the ASPiH Special Interest Group (SIG) in Human Factors & Ergonomics and is the clinical lead for the MSc in Quality and Patient Safety Improvement at the University of Nottingham.

In July 2019 he was elected onto the Board of the Global Network for Simulation in Healthcare ( which is a collaborative organisation bringing together international healthcare and patient safety organisations, national simulation societies, and industry leaders seeking to design and apply simulation-based interventions to address major global healthcare issues. He has current national roles with Health Education England and the Royal College of Anaesthetists related to the strategic implementation, quality assurance and evaluation of simulation-based and immersive learning technologies within healthcare. He has advisory roles on patient safety and Human Factors with the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians Joint Advisory Group on Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

He is interested particularly in the development of individual, team-based and organisational resilience and exploring how systems design (Human Factors) can influence performance and well-being at a local and system-wide level.

“Critical Care Nursing Across the World: Breaking Down Barriers” will be the theme for the first ever joint BACCN and IACCN: Irish Association of Critical Care Nurses Conference taking place in Belfast in September 2021. With this in mind I’ve asked the current chairs/presidents  of the main Critical Care Nursing Associations: AACN’s Megan Brunson (via digital link); BACCN’s Nicki Credland and the Chair of IACCN to give us their perspective on some of the global challenges being faced by Critical Care Nurses and they propose we deal with it with an opportunity for delegates to make their individual voices heard in helping us to break down the barriers to global co-operation.

Megan Brunson: President of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses

Since 2007, Megan has been the night shift supervisor in the cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) at Medical City Dallas Hospital. From 2000-2007, she was charge nurse/night shift for the CVICU at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, after completing two years as the night shift team leader in the telemetry unit at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. During more than 20 years as a night shift nurse, she has focused on securing professional development resources for nurses in a 24/7 care environment.

Actively involved with AACN for more than 15 years, Megan is a member of the Atlanta Area and Dallas Area chapters, serving as president of the Atlanta Area Chapter in 2007. She has presented many times at AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, speaking on leadership development for chapters.

Megan is also a member of the Clinical Nurse Leader Association, American Nurses Association and Texas Nurses Association.

As a nurse researcher, Megan was the investigator for a 2006-2007 study to determine which interventions post-cardiac surgery patients perceived as best to quench their thirst with the least amount of nausea/vomiting, and a study in 2012-2013 on the effect of ambient noise levels on patients’ night time sleep patterns.

In 2016, she earned the HCA North Texas Division Excellence in Nursing Professional Mentor Award, and she received the Lois Robillard Nurse of the Year Award from Medical City Dallas in 2009. She earned a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration on leadership from Saint Xavier University in Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Nicki Credland:  Chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses

Nicki initially completed her nurse training at the University of Hull, followed by a BSc (Hons) in Critical Care. She then took a MMedSci Advanced Nursing Practice at the University of Sheffield. Following a PG Cert in Education and another in research she is now undertaking a PhD exploring recognition and response to clinical deterioration using implementation science. Her clinical background is in intensive care and latterly critical care outreach. Nicki is now a Senior Lecturer and Head of Department for the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Hull. As Chair of BACCN Nicki represents critical care nurses both nationally and internationally.

Serena O'Brien: Chair of the Irish Association of Critical Care Nurses

Serena O’Brien has 20 years’ experience in critical care nursing which began at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, where she completed her post graduate diploma in advanced nursing. During her 10 years at The Alfred, Serena worked in a surgical ICU and in the latter four years, was employed as a Clinical Nurse Educator with a interest in cardiothoracic nursing.

In 2009, she returned home to Ireland to take up her current role as the ECMO (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation) Co-ordinator at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, and working with Dr Edmund Carton, Consultant Intensivist, developed Ireland’s national adult ECMO service. She has presented at several meetings both nationally and internationally in relation to ECMO practice.

Serena completed her MSc by research degree in 2015 at University College Dublin where she investigated the long-term health-related quality of life of ECMO survivors in Ireland.

She is the current chair of the IACCN (Irish Association of Critical Care Nurses) and an active committee member of ICUsteps Dublin.

Jean Pierre De Villiers: Professional Speaker, High Impact Coach, Author and an Elite Vegan Athlete

JP, as he is known, coaches’ people how to tap into their full potential and perform at their best by transforming their body and mind and spirit. He delivers high impact coaching programmes giving people optimum certainty, energy and obsession.

With almost two decades of experience in peak performance and personal coaching, JP is renowned for running transformational events, seminars and challenges globally, stretching people to be their absolute best.

Olympic medallists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, actors and award-winning film directors and producers have benefited from JP’s expertise and have relied on him to help them perform at the highest level. JP teaches leading-edge strategies to keep his clients ahead of the game.

JP is the founder of Life Fitness University, an online coaching membership which is focused on making the best education, motivation and inspiration available and accessible to the world.

As well as speaking internationally, being featured on TEDx, and being hired by large global organisations for his high impact coaching skills, Jean-Pierre regularly contributes to publications and features in the media. He is the author of several books, is a professional martial artist, has completed multiple ultra-marathons and other endurance events, is an Ironman triathlete and was voted as health coach of the year.

As critical care nurses we are grounded and inspired by our patient and family’s journey through Critical Care and it’s at the heart of what we do daily as well as helping us shape & develop the future of Critical Care Nursing. JP as a #rehablegend will I’m sure inspire and guide us on the path to the best we can be not just for ourselves but more importantly for the those we care for daily. 

Dr. Mandy Odell: Nurse Consultant, Critical Care at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Mandy has worked in critical care for nearly 40 years; including both intensive care and critical care outreach. She has been a nurse consultant since 2001. 

Her main focus is the improvement of the care of critically ill patients on the general wards through expert role modelling, education, and support; as well as the facilitation and development of Critical Care Outreach, Advanced Nurse Practice and Hospital at Night. 

Mandy was the Chair of the BACCN from 1999-2002, secretary of NORF between 2005-2006, the first nurse member of the Intensive Care Society Council from 2008 - 2011 and an inaugural member of the International Society for Rapid Response Systems from 2013.

Her PhD research focussed on ward nurses compliance with rapid response protocols, and following on from that has set up the first system in the UK that allows patients and their families to directly call the Critical Care Outreach team. Her team won a national award for this ‘Call 4 Concern’© (C4C) service in 2011.