My experience of a health care professional study day
Sarah shares her experience of helping to organise our health care professional study days.
I‘ve supported our local Breathe Easy group and put on awareness raising events with the British Lung Foundation for years, so I was really pleased to be approached about becoming a BLF Professional.
I specialise in treating people affected by interstitial lung disease (ILD), a group of conditions that cause inflammation or scar tissue to build up inside the lungs.
Most health care professionals see fewer patients with ILD than more common conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and that means there is much less training in this area. I felt that other respiratory health care professionals working in my region could really benefit from an educational event focussing on ILD.
I got in touch with the BLF and suggested there was an opportunity for a study day like this in the South West. So when Bethany, the manager of the BLF Professionals programme, contacted me about organising one, I leapt at the chance to get involved.
The BLF’s health care professional study days offer the opportunity to update your knowledge, learn new skills, network with regional colleagues and share best practice. They consist of a mixture of talks and workshops delivered by specialists, tailored to the needs of health care professionals in that region.
At the event I helped to organise, our aim was to give health care professionals the information and confidence to improve the holistic care of their ILD patients. We covered topics like current and emerging therapies, facing difficult conversations, multi-disciplinary team diagnosis, and the roles of oxygen and pulmonary rehabilitation.
We also had the privilege of a hearing a patient living with ILD share her experiences with us, which gave us real insight into the reality of living with this condition.
The day proved to be a great success. We had loads of positive feedback, and after the event people told me about the changes and improvements they would be making to their practice.
One comment that really stayed with me was “the day has inspired me to fight even harder for my patients’ rights”. I found organising the day with the BLF hugely satisfying, and it was really useful to be able to tailor the education to local needs. And of course, helping to run the event was also a great way of supporting the charity and the work they do to improve treatments for lung disease.
If you want to take part in a BLF study day, I would really encourage you to join the BLF Professionals programme. As well as getting to attend the health care professional study days for free, as a BLF Professional you can have a say on what training you feel you need, which helps them to decide on the education they offer.
As a BLF Professional you can also apply to shadow a respiratory service in another part of the country and get a reduced membership to organisations like PCRS-UK and ACPRC. When I first started working with the BLF, I didn’t realise what a difference it would make. They really listen to you, and if they can help you to help your patients, they will.
We'll be holding more regional study days for health care professionals across the UK in 2015. Sign up to our health care professional bulletin for more information and to hear when applications open.