The opportunity to spend time at this conference is one that I take seriously - like everyone else attending, I am continually thinking about how the learning and the interactions with colleagues have the potential to impact positively on my own practice in nursing education. So far, these are some of the ways that I can relate the learning to my own practice:
* Confirmed my view that education around leadership - applied to the context in which the student operates - can enhance patient care through the further development of teams, personal skills, and self-awareness. I am working with colleagues on the development of a leadership course for practitioners, and I will take home some of the approaches that I have seen here to complement our thinking so far.
* Hearing an inspirational leader such as Leslie Mancuso from Jhpiego passionately convey messages about how nurses are doing amazing work as advocates for women in developing countries leads me to think about how some of that passion can be better conveyed to our students. Providing examples about how nurses can make a difference to (in this case) women's health (and the lives of their families and communities) could be one way to bring to life the extraordinary work that is going on. The key word for me when I heard Leslie speak was 'compassion' - without compassion none of these activities would be taking place.
* There is a need to enhance the international/global perspectives in nursing within our education - helping students to really appreciate the global challenges, how our health context differs (and shares similarities) with other countries. Lots of different ways to do this through sharing of stories, visits to contribute in some way to the 'other' organisation or context, etc.
* Is there a need to help students to be better social activists with greater political awareness? I have been very interested in some of the presentations where nurses have demonstrated commitment to advocating for others - usually in very challenging situations. Are our students politically astute? Do they need to be? I would suggest that with the increasing politicalisation of nursing, it is vital to have skills that enables the profession to have grown-up conversations with policy makers, the public and others with a vested interest in the profession.
* The growing use and impact of SoMe on the nursing profession - through blogging, Tweeting etc - providing more access to resources, creating connections across the globe, enabling debate and the sharing of practice. Are we preparing our students for this virtual world?
These are some early thoughts - lots to digest and form views on. Like many others here I have formed new connections, planned other meetings and gained collaborative writing opportunities - broadened my horizons!