Learning from Excellence conferences on 'why language matters'

Learning from Excellence conferences on 'why language matters'

Posted on March 12

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The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network was honoured to support a sell-out conference on Friday 7th February, which brought together delegates from all over the world to share the principals of ‘Learning from Excellence’ in healthcare.

Hosted at the Birmingham Conference and Events Centre in the City Centre, the conference welcomed over 300 delegates within the LfE community, who were gripped with stories from national disasters to personal triumphs – all focused on the theme ‘Why Language Matters’.

Healthcare professionals heard from experts and enthusiasts in the field of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and Learning from Excellence (LfE), including Sir Bruce Keogh, Chairman, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Dawn Benson, Sociologist, Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), Darren Klugman, Associate Professor, Children’s National Health System, Belinda Dewar, Director Of Wee Culture And Co-Lead My Home Life International, Chris Turner, Emergency Medicine Consultant, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire, Alison Jones, Learning from Excellence Fellow, Suzette Woodward, Patient Safety Advisor, and of course, Adrian Plunkett, Consultant Paediatric Intensivist, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and  Emma Plunkett, Consultant Anaesthetist,  Birmingham Women’s Hospital, who lead the LfE project.

The LfE team believes that studying excellence in healthcare can create new opportunities for learning and improving team resilience, many other health and social care organisations in the NHS and beyond have also adopted the Learning from Excellence approach in their areas of practice.

Anu Mitra delivered a powerful presentation around the importance of de-briefing and Schwartz Rounds following his experience of being on call during the Grenfell Tower fire, and the emotional impact major incidents can have on NHS staff.  Aly Walker discussed the power of narrative medicine, whilst Sir Bruce Keogh reminded us that “people don’t remember what you said to them, but how it made them feel” and expert conversational analyst and professor of social interaction, Liz Stokoe explained that if we want to study language, we need to do so, “in the wild”. Adrian Plunkett reminded us that “what you look for is what you find” and highlighted reasons to be optimistic and the day was summarised by Suzette Woodward who closed the meeting with a call for delegates to spread the messages of kindness, optimism and appreciation in their workplaces.

As well as presentations from the LfE community and healthcare professionals offering a different perspective on the power of language, the day featured live art by We Are Beard, who captured the speaker’s key messages beautifully. In addition to an operatic interlude by Birmingham Children’s Hospitals’ multi-talented Antonio Perez, the day concluded with a truly inspiring story from Anthony Bennett, who shared his story of battling several life-threatening infections, how Adrian Plunkett and the team at Great Ormond Street Hospital helped to save his life following 12 resuscitations, and his personal journey through recovery – reminding us “if you say yes amazing things could happen!”

Reflecting on the conference, Emma Plunkett said: “We were incredibly pleased with how the day went - it was brilliant to be able to bring the community together to share their experience of Learning from Excellence and Appreciative Inquiry.  The presentations from the speakers captured the theme perfectly, and reminded us all how powerful a tool language can be and why it really matters. The energy and atmosphere in the room was palpable and the day as a whole emphasised the importance of promoting positive workplace behaviours and a culture of kindness and compassion.”

Helen Hunt, West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, said: “It has been a privilege to work with Emma and Adrian to deliver what was in my eyes a fantastic event that brought together more than 300 people from across the World. I look forward to planning the next LfE conference in 2021.”

If you missed the conference, visit: https://learningfromexcellence.com/lfeconferences/ where you can view the electronic brochure and posters from the day. And you can also search for the hashtag #LfE3 on Twitter.