NNNG Conference: 2007 Knebworth

The NNNG held their 21st Birthday 2007 Annual Conference at Knebworth Hall on 27th and 28th June 2007.

Report by Beverley Trickett, Trainee Assistant Practitioner (TAP) in Nutrition Support who works alongside Neil Wilson, NNNG Comms.

“As I am a working along side a Nutrition Nurse Specialist, I am one of the few people in my role as an unqualified member of staff. I am on a two year training programme undertaking a foundation degree with a focus on Nutritional Care in Hospital.  I was encouraged by the Nutrition Nurse to join the NNNG so that I would be able to use them as a resource as well as being able to stay a breast of the latest developments in nutrition. Being asked to attend my first NNNG conference presented me with very mixed feelings, as a new member to the group I didn’t know what to expect, let alone realising the 5-hour journey down to Knebworth for my first conference would follow a long day at work. Arriving at the hotel gave me the opportunity to meet the committee members of the NNNG and also other nutrition nurses and Dietitians, who were very welcoming and asked a lot of questions about my role and what being a TAP in Nutrition Support involved. This enabled me to feel more confident about the conference and the next 2 days ahead.

The following morning we were greeted by the beautiful surroundings of Knebworth Park as we drove up the main drive to the barns for the first day of conference. The first presentation “egg flip to Omega 3” by Pete Turner, Senior Dietitian, Royal Liverpool Hospital was humorous, light hearted but very informative providing the delegates with a history of the beginnings of enteral feeding and how far we have come from anal absorption!!!!. The debate: “the house believes that feeding patients is not the role of the registered nurse” brought compelling arguments with Angie Davidson, Consultant Nurse at St Marks Hospital arguing for and Sister Liz Evans Ward Manager, Stroke Unit Wycombe Hospital arguing against. The debate gave convincing arguments for both sides, providing plenty of food for thought for me as a trainee assistant practitioner and someone that passionately believes that patients should receive the support the need with eating and drinking, regardless of what designation we are. The session was introduced and summed up by Neil Wilson, Nutrition Nurse Specialist who presented damming headlines of patients that had been nutritionally neglected in hospitals.

Breaking for lunch gave me the opportunity to digest and reflect on the morning and the importance of such days not only for individuals working in nutrition but for healthcare as a whole. I explored the industry stands, speaking to reps some of whose products I was familiar with, some of whose I was not, but ensuring I got those vital sticky notes and free pens. The lunch and food service was excellent, with the staff providing us with 1st class service, nothing was too much trouble. The afternoon presentations were very interesting and included a talk about naso-jejunal tubes: An overview of technique by Sheldon Cooper, Specialist Registrar Samwell Hospital, West Bromwich and the advantages of post pyloric feeding which also covered the different methods of placing naso-jejunal tubes. To round off the afternoon sessions there was a fun and slightly biased general knowledge quiz NNNG V’s The Rest. We left at 4.15 to go back to our hotel with victory and the need to celebrate our success, good chairing Lynne!!  We had two hours to get into our evening dresses and tuxedos ready for the minibus to pick us up at 6.30pm.

As we gathered in the hotel foyer, I looked around at a very glamorous group of people men thinking they were James bond and of course Pete opting for a discreet odd fellow character!!  The Ladies in their evening dresses fighting through the sequins and feathers, and that was just Alison Jones from Wigan! Unfortunately the mini bus was delayed so the committee members pulled together and started relays driving people to Knebworth Barns, how this complimented the theme of James Bond. On entering we were presented with a vodka martini shaken not stirred. The evening progressed from their the tables were decorated beautifully weaving in the James bond theme, each table had quiz to answer and of course we had to win, thanks to phone a friend!!!! . In between courses we were treated to a fantastic murder mystery plot which we had to solve by the end of the meal and each table had to write a limerick, which caused endless amounts of laughter let alone reflection on personal thoughts! Then through to the dance floor before getting on the minibus at 12.30am or as some liked to think a limo!  How deluded some can be!

The first presentation of day 2 centred on: – What are medical devices, how devices are regulated and what is an adverse incident by Jonathon Plumb, MHRA. Drugs and enteral nutrition followed by Rebecca White, Pharmacy Team Manager, John Ratcliffe Hospital. Rebecca covered issues like identifying the issues, drug administration via enteral feeding tubes a multidisciplinary problem and before administering a drug via a feeding tube-things to consider.  After lunch we were treated to a presentation by Dr Liz Jones, Head of Patient Environment at the Department of Health About Helping our Patients to eat, which generated much debate in the room, heightened tensions and honest questions. We left the conference at 15.30 and headed on our 5-hour journey home.

I certainly have learnt a lot from my first NNNG conference. The committee worked really hard to make the conference the success that it was, the presentations were educational with some very funny, the atmosphere was relaxed and in a beautiful setting, I got to net work and meet other specialists with in my area of work, and learnt even more about the importance of nutrition and where it began. I found this a really enjoyable experience that should be attended by many more than just qualified nurse specialists.”