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Belfast Speakers

Belfast 2019 Speakers

Speakers at Nursing in Practice Belfast 2019 include:

Chair: Marilyn Eveleigh,  Independent Nurse Consultant and Advisory Board Member, Nursing in Practice

As the former Head of Clinical Quality & Risk and Lead Nurse at NHS Brighton & Hove, Marilyn Eveleigh was the Named Nurse for Child & Adult safeguarding and has undertaken Serious Incidents investigations and led the Health Investigation clinical team. Presently she is a member of the Nursing in Practice Advisory Board, which supports national conferences, a bi-monthly journal, a lively website and national annual awards for primary and community nurses. She has led the development of Practice Nursing Competencies and a Competency Framework for Registered Nurses in Nursing Homes and acts as an independent trainer, clinical incident investigator and consultant for quality, patient safety and primary care nursing.

Chair: Nicki Patterson, Director of Nursing, Older People and Primary Care, South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

Nicki undertook her nurse training in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast in the 1980’s. She worked clinically as a staff nurse and ward sister in General Medicine and combined full time work with part time study completing  her diploma and BSc in Nursing and an MSc in Health Services Management.

Nicki worked in partnership with the Open University to support the first Pre-Registration Programme cohort in NI. She has remained a strong proponent of the programme since then. She also has experience of working at government level where she was part of the CNO team as a Nursing Officer.  In the year prior to major health service restructuring in NI she took up a Director of Nursing post and then became Nursing Co-Director in the Belfast Trust. During her time in this post she was also the NI registrant council member on the NMC. She is also a qualified coach and mediator.

Nicki has been in her current post for 5 years in which she professionally leads circa 3,500 nursing and midwifery staff and operationally manages the Older People and Primary Care Directorate.

Keynote: Margaret Graham, Retired Senior Nurse Manager (Community)

Margaret retired from nursing in 2009 following a 38 year career in nursing. She trained in the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast.  Before leaving the RVH,  Margaret held the post of ward sister.

In 1979 Margaret travelled and worked in Australia, returning in 1980 to train as a Health Visitor. A major part of her nursing career was in public health, working as a health visitor in North and West Belfast, an area which at that time was experiencing major civil unrest becoming one of the most affected areas to see three decades of violence. Moving into senior management she held responsibility for Health Visiting, School Nursing,Family Planning Services and a number of public health nursing services.

In 2003 Margaret moved to the Department of Health and Social Services as Business and Contracts Manager for Post Registration Nursing and Midwifery, having responsibility for commissioning nurse education from universities and colleges to meet the needs of the nursing workforce and service providers.

On her retirement Margaret joined the active Northern Ireland RCN History of Nursing Network leading a project to collect narratives from nurses across the province who had worked during “the Troubles”. The support from nurses across the province resulted in a well reviewed book, Nurses’ Voices from the Northern Ireland Troubles, published in 2013, which she co-edited. This publication inspired BBC Northern Ireland to commission a 60 minute programme focussing on the experiences of nurses who worked through the Troubles.

In 2017 under Margaret’s leadership, this history group completed a Heritage Lottery Funded project to collate information about nurses from the province who served in WW1. Margaret has presented at conferences nationally and internationally. In 2014 Margaret was awarded the NI RCN Outstanding Achievement Award at the Northern Ireland Nurse of the Year. In 2018 Margaret received the RCN Award of Merit.

Keynote: Margaret Kerr, Retired Senior Nurse Manager (Acute)

Margaret retired from an unbroken  nursing career  in 2000 having commenced her training at the Royal Victoria Hospital Belfast in 1958.

Most of her nursing was in theatres where she was theatre sister then nursing officer. As a theatre sister Margaret was called back on duty in August 1969 to open and organise additional theatres to   attend to the casualties admitted from the intense outbreak of violence in the streets of Belfast which surrounded the hospital. For the following 3 decades, Margaret witnessed at first hand the trauma  caused by bullet and bomb. This experience gave her and the wider team of surgeons, anaesthetists and technicians world renowned skills and knowledge in the management of trauma.

Margaret held a number of senior nurse management posts before retiring. Margaret has been a life-long active member of the RCN. She has presented nationally and internationally on the subject of Disaster Situations.

Keynote: Tommy Whitelaw, UK Project Lead, Dementia Carer Voices

For five years Tommy Whitelaw was a full-time carer for his late mother Joan who had Vascular Dementia, and in 2011 Tommy undertook a walk around Scotland’s towns and cities to collect hundreds of life story letters detailing the experiences of individuals caring for a loved one living with dementia.

Since then, he has engaged with thousands of carers through his ‘Tommy on Tour’ blog and as UK Project Engagement Lead with the Health and Social Care Alliance’s Dementia Carer Voices Project, conducting frequent talks to health and social care professionals and carer organisations across Scotland, to raise awareness of the impact of dementia on families and the importance of empowering carers in carrying out their difficult but vital role.

Tommy’s passion for his work and the Dementia Carer Voices Project has not gone unnoticed. He was the winner of the ‘Age Scotland Jess Barrow Award’ in 2013; Finalist Campaigner of the year 2013 for ‘The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards’, won the NHSGGC Chairman’s Ambassador Award 2013 and in 2015, Tommy was awarded the ‘British Citizen’s Medal for Services to Healthcare’ in recognition of his work to raise awareness of dementia and promote a fuller understanding of the carer journey. 

Most recently, Tommy has been shortlisted as a finalist for the Kate Granger awards 2016 and received an Honorary Master of the Open University for Health, Social Care, Education and Policy making influence.

Jayne Carson, Tissue Viability Nurse Lead, South  Eastern Health and Social Care Trust

Jayne has worked in the SEHSCT as a Tissue Viability Nurse for the last 10 years, recently taking up post of Lead nurse in January 2017. Prior to this she began her early nursing career in Plastic Surgery, progressing into District Nursing; all of which has helped her gain valuable knowledge and experience in wound management and its associated complexities.

Andrea Craig, Acting Ward Sister, Beechcroft Treatment Ward, Regional Inpatient Unit for Northern Ireland

Andrea has worked in the inpatient service for sixteen years. She was the runner up for RCN Nurse of the year-student category in 2010, and is currently acting ward sister in the Treatment ward. Andrea has a specialist interest in eating disorders and she has taken a lead role in the Freedom and Hope project for eating disorders.

Edel Gilchrist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Team Lead, Eating Disorders Youth Service, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Edel is a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Team lead of Eating Disorder Youth Service CAMHS. She has worked with young people and their families within CAMHS for 24 years, in both in-patient and outpatient settings, but specifically within the eating disorder service in Belfast Trust over the last 5 years. In 2010 she was the  recipient of the Bamford Vision award for mental health.

Sandra Grieve, Travel Health Specialist Nurse

Sandra’s interest in travel medicine began in 1991. She is active in nurse education, previously an Associate Trainer (Yellow Fever) for The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) until
training moved online.

Sandra is an RCN public health forum (PHF) committee member and travel health lead, representing them on travel health related issues. She is Chair of the Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine (NECTM) Steering Group. Sandra is a Fellow of the Faculty of Travel Medicine (FTM), Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (RCPSG) and Editor of the FTM magazine

She enjoys writing, attending conferences, gathering and disseminating travel health information and forging links with nurses around the world.

Alison Griffiths, Senior Health Protection Nurse (Lead Nurse), Public Health Agency

Alison qualified as a registered nurse in 1999. She then undertook further post registration study and graduated in 2001 from QUB with a BSc (Hons) in Nursing Studies – Management in care giving pathway. 

From 1999 until 2012, Alison worked in a number of different clinical settings including Neurosurgery, renal medicine, transplant and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC).  When working as an IPC nurse she completed a Postgraduate Diploma with specialist practitioner qualification in infectious diseases and management through Dundee University.

Alison has worked in health protection since November 2012 and is currently undertaking the IHI quality improvement programme.

Lesley Hamilton, Diabetes Network Manager, Western Trust

Lesley qualified as a State Registered Dietitian in 1990 after completing BSc( Hons) course in Nutrition and Dietetics in Aberdeen.  She is currently the Diabetes Network Manager for the Western Trust and also continues to input to diabetes clinics and structured patient education programmes.  Lesley became a Diabetes UK Clinical champion in June 2015 and has worked on integrated care approach to diabetes service in Western Trust incorporating multidisciplinary approaches to care and centralised referral.  She is involved in the Diabetes Regional Strategy and is co chair of the Structured Diabetes Education work stream. Lesley is a member of Diabetes UK NI advisory council and is NI representative on Primary Care Diabetes Society.

Iona McCormack, Advanced Nurse Practitioner, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Iona is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner with 30 years’ experience in Dermatology. She is a RGN, with a diploma in Health Studies, BSc Hons in Health Studies, Post Graduate Certificate at MSc Level in Dermatology and an Independent Prescriber.

In her role she carries out 6.5 nurse led clinics per week, including red flag clinics, surgery, skin cancer follow up, pre-cancerous treatments, digital dermoscopy screening for early detection of skin cancer, as well as general Dermatology one clinic per week. She is a core member of her regional MDM and NiCan groups, and Co-chair of the Irish Association of Dermatology Nursing. She is also a former NI RCN Nurse of the Year, and Florence Nightingale Scholar.

Caroline McGeary, Senior Infection Prevention and Control Nurse, Public Health Agency

Caroline trained in Royal Hospitals in Belfast; working in Vascular Surgery where she qualified before moving into the field of Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) in 2001; the speciality where she has spent the majority of her working career.  She completed an MSc in IPC with the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness, Scotland in 2008.

Caroline worked as a Senior IPC Nurse in the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust prior to taking up post as the Senior IPC Nurse with the Public Health Agency in September 2010.

She is the deputy Co-ordinater for the NI Infection Prevention Society branch and also a member of the Lead IPC Nurse Forum for NI.

Becky Swadling, Travel Health Specialist Nurse

Becky is an Independent Travel Health Specialist Nurse. She completed the Diploma in Travel Medicine from Glasgow in 2006 and is an Associate Member of the Faculty of Travel Medicine. She is
an executive member on the committee of the British Global Travel Health Association (BGTHA) and also editor of the BGTHA journal.

Becky started her career in travel medicine in 2000 when her interest was sparked after a few years of independent travel across the globe. She experienced first-hand many tropical diseases such as
dengue, giardia, dysentery, bed bugs and tropical ulcers as a result of naivety and no pre travel health consultation or advice.

Becky’s experience includes working in oncology, medical admissions and as a practice Nurse for Student Health. She has previously worked in busy private travel clinics and also in a management role for many years specialising in clinical policy and travel health education. She was the Head Nurse, then Senior Clinical Nurse Specialist for Nomad Travel Clinics for 16 years. She has devised and implemented an in house certified and assessed training programme for Travel Health for all Nomad Nurses, delivered via webinars and has created interactive E-Learning modules in travel medicine. She continues to write and review PGDs.

Becky has regularly delivered lectures to Practice, School and student Nurses, GPs and the general public in the past and currently delivers face to face training days for Pharmacists in Travel Health.

Elaine Wylie, Rheumatology Nurse Specialist, Craigavon Area Hospital, Southern Health and Social Care Trust

Elaine has worked in rheumatology for 28 years and the last 18 as a Nurse Specialist. She is currently based at Craigavon Area Hospital, where her clinical responsibilities include nurse-led review, joint injections, biologic therapy clinics, as well as running a telephone helpline service.   She is involved in service development locally and has mentored rheumatology nurses in Jesi, Italy to extend their role and service.

Her specific interests in rheumatology are inflammatory arthritis, patient and family education and support, and staff training and development. Elaine teaches on both rheumatology and orthopaedic specialist courses at Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster. She has a keen interest in research and audit and has presented a variety of papers locally, nationally and internationally.