“We were very fortunate to be asked to participate,” Sarah explains. “We were both very nervous and not quite sure what it would entail! However, there was no need to worry, as we were very well supported by the conference team.”
“We were joined by Matrons from UHP, North Bristol, Dorset and Gloucester,” Frances adds. “It was a good experience. I was asked about competing priorities, time and the challenges that rise from being a matron. I felt that the most important part of my role was supporting my senior nurses to deliver great, compassionate care on the wards, and I praised my colleagues for their fantastic care and teamwork during the pandemic.”
“It was a really good learning experience as a new Matron, and I would highly recommend to all health care professionals to attend conferences in the future,”
Sarah continues. “It has given me a network of Matrons in the Southwest to reach out to. I think the estates aspect of my role came as a surprise to those in the acute settings; having to manage our buildings as well as our patients.”
The conference came about after feedback to the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) that Matrons had not been visible enough through the COVID pandemic. The conference gave everyone time to reflect and discuss the central issue alongside the Matrons Charter and the Matrons Handbook.
Speakers at the conference also included Sue Dohney, Director of Quality and Clinical Leadership Southwest, Prerana Issar, Chief people officer NHS England, Sally Matravers, Assistant director of nursing and Regional IPC lead for the South, Penny Smith, Director of Nursing and quality for the southwest, and Paul Reeves, Head of Nursing – Education and New roles, NHS England and Improvement.
Mr Reeves praised the efforts of the attending Matrons, adding:
“The Matrons put forward for the South West Regional conference were fantastic. Both Sarah and Frances did themselves and your hospitals proud. They spoke up and clearly articulated their views, and shone like two beacons. What an asset they are to the matron-world and to your organisations.”