NHS Borders first annual Nursing & Midwifery conference took place last Wednesday; a gathering of more than 70 nurses, midwives and health professionals who work across our services in the BGH, mental health and the community.

Hosted by Claire Pearce, our new Director of Nursing, Midwifery & Acute Services, the theme was 'Excellence in Care' and the programme for the day was packed full of informative, interesting and inspiring presentations delivered by guest speakers from NHS Borders, Fife, Lothian, Scottish Government, the Royal College of Nursing and Care Opinion Scotland.

Describing her vision for the day, Claire said: "This conference was all about bringing together nurses and midwives to give them time away from their busy jobs to reflect on many aspects of their roles, their priorities and to have time to think about themselves.

"A common thread that ran through the presentations was the importance of documentation and the responsibility that we all have to ensure that our record keeping is accurate and up to date. Personal accounts were given of what can happen when records aren't kept correctly, and sparked some interesting discussion amongst those present.

"Following the Healthcare Improvement Scotland report that we received at the end of last month which identified documentation as an area for improvement, and the introduction of our 'Back to Basics' programme, there is a renewed focus on record keeping and the importance of it. A focused piece of work on simplifying some of the documentation that was used is also underway, and Senior Charge Nurses and their teams are central to this work, to ensure that what we do is right for them and their patients. It is so important that change and the ideas behind it come from the people who are doing the job."

Macmillan Nurse Consultant for Cancer in NHS Borders, Judith Smith, gave a presentation about her career in nursing, which led to her being awarded an MBE in 2015. Judith's anecdotes about how nursing has changed over the years, and the opportunities that exist for nurses and healthcare support workers, were thought-provoking, humorous and emotional. She also described how important it is to embrace change and think about how things can be done differently and better. For example Judith was instrumental in the creation of a nurse led chemotherapy service in the BGH meaning that Borders patients could receive their care closer to home. The result of which is that 98% of patients in the Borders who require day case chemotherapy now receive it in the Borders Macmillan Centre - a proud achievement for Judith and her team, and one that has made a significant impact on the lives of people affected by cancer.

Giving her thoughts on the conference, Ali Foster, Senior Charge Nurse at NHS Borders, said: "Today has been a really great day. All the presentations were really interesting and relevant to my job, and it was nice to hear people sharing their experiences which so many of us in the room can relate to.

"There are many messages that I take away from today, but the one that I am going to hold on to is remembering just how important it is for us to look after ourselves and each other. The job we do has such a huge impact on the lives of others, and remembering the importance of how we treat ourselves and each other is key to doing a great job and enjoying it. I really hope that this conference becomes an annual event and that even more people are able to come along next year to be inspired and motivated the way I have been."