Students greeting delegates

Student nurse, Danielle King was part of a team of students which organised the Reflecting on the Past, Shaping the Future conference on the University campus where over 400 students from across the North heard from leaders in the profession.

“In your final year of your nursing degree you have to contend with a dissertation, exams, practice placement, and the prospect of looking for a job to start when you finish. With all of this it seems silly to do anything more to add to the stress that you are already under. I, however, volunteered to organise the next student-led nursing conference, following on from the successful conferences organised by students from Liverpool John Moores University and Edge Hill University two years previously.

At the time of agreeing to do this it felt like such a great opportunity and something exciting to be part of. It soon became clear though that it was not going to be an easy task to complete. I had so many ideas on who I wanted to speak at the conference, as there were certain areas I was interested in. I had no idea though that on its own this is not enough to organise a conference for over 400 people.

Initially a series of meetings were arranged involving third year students as well as inviting volunteers from the first and second year students. From this I learnt , that when in doubt, you should ask for help!

”If anyone has the opportunity to do something like this, grab it with both hands and throw yourself into itFrom the initial meetings we formed a ‘conference organising committee’ and realised the importance of arranging regular meetings to discuss the conference. We soon came to realise that there were many things we did not have a clue about, as none of us had any previous experience in this area. These forums worked to build for the event. We contacted many different people in the University, from the Guild of Students to the Communications Team and were grateful that we could draw on the experience of lots of individuals; however it was evident that we had to shoulder the responsibility for coordinating and organising the event ourselves – with help!

We had a great support system behind us in the form of our head of nursing Julie Crane and lecturer Ian Pierce-Hayes who helped us in our journey to organising a conference. Without them we would not have gained the confidence to get in contact with specific individuals, in particular Dr Jane Cummings, the Chief Nurse for England.

Initially, the discussions centred on the best date for the conference and location. We looked around the Echo Arena and Adelphi hotel, both of which were fabulous but really we were keen to utilise the University campus. However we were concerned that due to the extensive refurbishment of the Guild, our choice of venue would be a building site until a few weeks before the day of the conference… At one point we had a guided tour of the site about six weeks before September wearing hard hats and boots trying to imagine what the venue would like as well as hoping it would be ready in time.

Student organisers including Danielle King (2nd from the right) and speakers

Student organisers including Danielle King (2nd from the right) and speakers

In the final weeks leading up to the conference, with our guest speakers confirmed, it was only the little bits that seem so insignificant at the beginning that we had to do. The hours spent packing conference packs and creating signs, chasing people via email, and stressing that we wouldn’t get everything done, were all worth it when the day of the conference finally came.

As an individual that helped organise the conference I cannot say how the day went as a whole as I was running around dealing with computer faults and other minor dramas!

The feedback that we received made the whole experience so worthwhile. It ran smoothly and all the speakers we had organised were a great hit, not only with the students but registered nurses and guests as well.

If you asked me would I do it again, my answer would be yes, but maybe in a few months when I have recovered from this one. I would say if anyone has the opportunity to do something like this grab it with both hands and throw yourself into it. Even though it involves so much time and hard work, the skills you gain from it will last a lifetime.”

Find out more about courses in nursing on the University’s Study pages or visit the departmental website.

Further readingLiverpool climbs in Guardian University Guide

Paper leaves and messages

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Staff across the University were thanked for their contribution at the Celebrating Success Awards Ceremony last night at the Crypt, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.

Hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, more than 250 staff attended the event where Roger Phillips, BBC Radio Merseyside Presenter and University of Liverpool honorary graduate revealed the winners.


The awards recognise, celebrate and promote excellence by academic, professional service and support staff across the university in the following categories:

Excelling at Innovation

Individual winner – Arthur Garnett, FM

Team winners – The Marketing Communications Team, SRAO: Emily Bell, Mike Claridge, Michelle Goulding, Laura Mallaber, Amy Phelps, Susan Shelbourne and Matt Smith.

Achieving Excellence

Individual winners – there were two winners in this category, Professor Laura Blackwood, School of Veterinary Science and Liz Crolley, ULMS

Team winners – The Central Teaching Laboratories Technical Staff: Ann Spencer, Stephen Chappell, Sandra Collins, Irene Cooper, Colin Downey, Joshua Hicks, Sabine Hiltscher, Alan Knowles and Christine Stalker.

Inspirational Leadership

Individual winner – Claire Brown, SRAO

Team winners – ASPIRE Industry Relationship Framework Project: Cecilia Barr, Strategic Planning, Lindsey Barry, Facilities Services, Jo Sharp, Directorate of Physiotherapy in the School of Health Sciences and Emma Thompson, Library.

Enhancing University Life

Individual winner – Lee Cooper, School of Dentistry

Team winners – Student Learning and Teaching Support Officers in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Lynne Crook, Alexandra Lancaster and Dominic Ventre.

Civic Contribution

Individual winner – Kirsty Hall, Victoria Gallery & Museum

Team winners – The Outreach Team, Ageing and Chronic Disease: Dr Karl Bates, Nick Bryan, Dr Marina Anderson, Diane Ashton, Richard Barrett-Jolley, Chris Ford, Leif Hunter, Victoria Kearns, Rebecca Lewis, Ben McDermott, Caroline O’Leary and Dr Lucy Pickervance.

Outstanding Early Career Researcher

Dr Laurence Hardwick, Chemistry

Apprentice of the Year

Katherine Holland, Chemistry

The ceremony also saw long service staff who have worked for the University for 40 and 25 years honoured for their contribution, who together have accumulated over 1,700 years service.

Celebrating talent


The award winners with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Patrick Hackett said: “We are privileged to have such talented, innovative and motivated staff who make all the difference to our students, our research partners and other stakeholders. Without the skills and commitment of all our staff – whether in academic, professional services or support roles – the university would not be able to achieve its research and teaching goals, nor would we be able to maintain the smooth running of our operations.”

Award winners included Dr Laurence Hardwick as Early Career Researcher, who has been instrumental in securing research funding amounting to £4.3 million over the last two years and the Outreach Team from the Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease who created a “Meet the Scientist” festival, attended by more than 1,500 visitors at the Liverpool World Museum.

Winner of the individual Inspirational Leadership, Claire Brown, commented: “I am delighted to receive the award and believe it is due in large part to the commitment of the Student Recruitment and Admissions team, who have worked so hard this year. I have the privilege of working with a great team of people and I’d like to thank them for their support.”


Those Commended with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor

High calibre

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Selection Panel, Patrick Hackett, added: “I would like to congratulate everyone who has been nominated. The Selection Panel was overwhelmed by the numerous examples of exceptionally talented and committed staff who work hard to achieve the University’s ambitions. The calibre of entries was extremely high. Choosing the finalists was a difficult job and a nomination, in itself, is an achievement. “

The evening culminated in the Deputy Vice-Chancellor thanking staff for their contributions to making the University the place it is today.


Members of staff who have achieved 40 years service with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor


Members of staff who have achieved 25 years service with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor

CSA 2013

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OliverLodge-1wProfessor Sir Oliver Lodge, Lyon Jones Professor of Physics, served the University for 19 years, making breakthroughs in wireless telegraphy years ahead of Marconi’s patents, and in 1896, demonstrated the first use of x-rays for surgery

Cath Gordon is a Clinical Tutor in the University of Liverpool’s School of Health Sciences

“Today is World Radiography Day which marks the anniversary of the discovery of x-radiation by Wilhelm Roentgen in 1895. Radiography makes a vital contribution to modern healthcare and the University of Liverpool was at forefront of its development at the end of the nineteenth century.

“Wilhem Rí¶entgon discovered x-rays on 8th November 1895 in Wurtzburg, Germany but Oliver Lodge, Professor of Physics at the University took the first diagnostic radiograph three months after this date on request of Robert Jones, an orthopaedic surgeon. Realising the potential, Robert Jones enlisted Dr Charles Thurston Holland, a GP and good friend, to operate the x-ray equipment that he had purchased.

“Hence, the first x-ray department in the country and possibly in the world was established in the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool. The initial inauguration of clinical radiology in Liverpool occurred on 25th June in 1895 with the first patient x-ray of a patient being taken.

“Dr Holland transferred to the Royal Liverpool Hospital some eight years later to work alongside a technician, Mr Charles Woods. Unfortunately, Mr Woods succumbed to the effects of working in this field at the time losing both his hands and forearms as a consequence of radiation burns before eventually dying from radiation induced carcinoma of the nose and face.

The beginning of training

“Training in radiography first began when the Society of Radiographers was founded in 1920 and membership included medical, electrical and radiographic professionals. The Liverpool and District Radiographic Society would organise lectures for people in local hospitals after work in the evenings to prepare for these exams.

Radiotherapy therapy

From the 1960s onwards radiography developed as the knowledge and technology advanced and became more complex and radiotherapy became part of radiography training. From 1992, Liverpool offered separate courses and students could choose to study radiotherapy or diagnostic radiography training.

Liverpool continues to offer radiotherapy training at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels . Radiotherapy uses ionising radiation to target and kill cancerous cells which can alleviate symptoms or even halt and eradicate the disease. As the population and life expectancy increases, the demand for suitably trained therapeutic radiographers is growing greater and Liverpool provides plenty of opportunities for students to specialise in the using different technologies, as well as in treating different cancers or patient groups with partners in .

To celebrate World Radiography Day we are opening our doors to staff and students who want to come and learn about radiotherapy and find out what a therapeutic radiographer does.

Our facilities will be open to visitors between 11:30am and 2:30pm today. Staff and students will be available in the VERT room and the 3D virtual radiotherapy room, both in the Waterhouse Building (Block B), and the CT scanner in the basement of the Johnston Building.

We will launch our initiative, ‘How was it for you?’, which encourages service users, young and old, to tell us how it feels to have radiotherapy treatment by drawing, painting or writing poetry.

To complete World Radiography Day celebrations, the Active Learning Lab will be lit up with a special animation. ”


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Gail Stephenson 2013

Gail Stephenson, Head of the Directorate of Orthoptics and Vision Science, has been elected as the first British President of the European Association of Orthoptics (OCE).

The OCE was formed 25 years ago following the formation of the EU, with the aim to ensure that Orthoptics had a voice in the legislation from Brussels in relation to the working rights and standards of occupations across the EC.

The British and Irish Orthoptic Society was one of the founding members of this association and the OCE Council, which meets once a year, now has representatives from 15 countries including Germany and Sweden, with two countries having observer status, whose main role is to ensure representation and dialogue with Brussels.


Gail said: “As a small profession with a wide range of roles in the eye care team we can find ourselves underrepresented or totally omitted in health debates. To be consulted over European policy for both Health and the Education of Health Professionals we must have an established European group/association which is the main purpose of the OCE.”

Taking the OCE forward”I am pleased to be taking the OCE forward and proud to be the first British Orthoptist to be elected to this position. During my term of office I hope to add support to orthoptists in countries where the profession is still developing, including the development of European Standards of Orthoptic education.”

The role of European President is in addition to her role as Vice President of the International Orthoptic Association, the world association of orthoptists, which promotes the development of orthoptics through research. These roles provide evidence of the status of the Orthoptic Directorate at the University of Liverpool in the European and world-wide orthoptic community.

Gail added: “It is important that British and Irish Orthoptists are represented at a European and International level and are involved in the decisions made to promote our profession. To justify our current and future practice we need to base this on a sound evidence base and examples of practice in other countries can support our own development whilst British research can form the basis of help to developing countries.”

World Orthoptic Day is on Monday 3 June 2013 which will help to increase the awareness of orthoptists and the association of the global impact of orthoptics.

gail stephenson 2013

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Sir Ian Gilmore is Honorary Professor in Clinical Science at the University of Liverpool

“This is a hard blog to write, because it may sound critical of the NHS – an organisation I have served for 42 years and still support passionately.

But it cannot escape the notice of anyone who picks up a newspaper, tunes into a radio station – or indeed has cause to experience it first hand as a patient or relative – that it seems at breaking point.

Breaking point

First you have to discard my rose-tinted spectacles, when everyone got the best care possible. When I was a houseman in 1971, doctor knew best, no-one, least of all the relatives, questioned the wisdom of the treatment provided and patients were the grateful recipients of free care that their parents had had to pay for.

Junior doctors worked 120 hours a week, lived in the hospital, but if there was a lull in the action in the Casualty Department before the 11pm closing time rush, the medical staff would retrench to the ‘mess’ or the pub next door for a quick ‘pint’ themselves.

What has changed? So much that it is difficult to know where to start.

”There has always been, and always will be, human error in delivering care and ‘things go wrong’ but then it was somehow accepted implicitly as part of the lottery of life”

The population has aged, expectations of the public have risen, so much more is possible. When I was a registrar some conditions like acute leukaemia were uniformly fatal and now they are almost completely curable, but this comes at a cost – both financial and in risky side-effects of powerful drugs.

There has always been, and always will be, human error in delivering care and ‘things go wrong’ but then it was somehow accepted implicitly as part of the lottery of life. Now it is more likely to be under the media spotlight and the subject of legal claims for compensation.

And of course the way the NHS is managed has changed out of all recognition. When I arrived at the Royal Liverpool Hospital as a consultant in 1980, the hospital was run by a few senior consultants and matron, aided by a hospital administrator who took the meeting minutes – no chief executives and tiers of managers; when we ran out of money a shroud was waved and more arrived by return.

Of course they were ‘happy days’ but that was because the hospital was run to be as convenient as possible for the staff. Quality of care and outcomes were not words in the medical lexicon, and no-one seemed to question why Mr X’s patients went home the day after their hernia operation whereas Mr Y’s patients all stayed for a fortnight.

”Change was needed but change has come along so frequently in the guise of reorganisation that there has never been time to evaluate the results of the previous one, before the next has been upon us”

So change was needed but change has come along so frequently in the guise of reorganisation that there has never been time to evaluate the results of the previous one, before the next has been upon us. While we are exorted to practice evidence-based medicine, the NHS changes have been largely evidence-free zones.

And now, since April 1st, we are reeling from the biggest reorganisation since 1948 by a government that promised no structural change.

There are positives – an increased emphasis on quality, outcomes and clinical leadership. But on the other side of the equation is the commissioning conundrum – do the huge costs of commissioning services across a purchaser–provider separation really bring savings, efficiencies and improved outcomes?

The chances are that we shall never know as the pieces of the jigsaw will be shuffled again before long.

Most important asset

But what we must always remember is what really matters – what happens to the patient at the point where front-line staff deliver care, whether it be a complex operation or handing out a cup of tea and some words of sympathy.

Our staff are our most important asset, they don’t want to give poor or dangerous care, but if we don’t keep a careful eye on how system changes affect the day-to-day motivation and behaviour of doctors and nurses, there will be more disasters for patients and families like those experienced in mid-Staffordshire.

We simply can’t allow that to happen again.”

The Liverpool ViewOne Health: Are we really all in it together?

Tackling the creeping rise of drones

Too much knowledge?


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