April 65 Set Zoom reunions
We were a few weeks into 'lockdown' on the afternoon of April 5th 2020 when I picked up the Sunday paper to see if there was any cheerful news (probably not!), on further checking the date, it occurred to me that it was 55 years ago on that day that the 'April 65' set had started our training. I thought about how we had all been invited with our parents or guardians to afternoon tea in the School of Nursing. How we tentatively introduced ourselves to one another while we sipped our tea, and listened to an inspirational introduction from Miss Bendall. Then, following our farewells, we were led to the Nurses Home in Guildford Street, which was to be our 'home' for the next few months.
Not, at the time being at all adept at Zooming (to be honest I had never heard of Zooming until maybe 4 weeks previously!) I decided to give it a go. Some hurried emails shot out of my outbox suggesting a Zoom that evening. We had to pick a time very carefully as we had participants in Canada and Australia as well as the Republic of Ireland and Spain. Luckily, Sally, in Australia is an early bird and she was happy to extract herself from her bed at 6a.m. This equated to about 4p.m. in Canada and 9p.m. in the UK - so we went for it. Without exception, we were all delighted to see each other, it was already 5 years since some of us had met to celebrate our 50th anniversary. As is always the case when a group of GOS nurses get together, there was no shortage of conversation and the time flew by. We have continued our Zooms throughout lockdown and have now decided that even when we are 'released' from captivity, we will continue to meet on Zoom a few times a year. I think it is true to say that we are getting to know one another even better as we enjoy Zooming together and we are really enjoying the company of one another. Some of our colleagues who live abroad have already expressed the fear that they will not be able to return to the UK for future reunions so Zooming will be a wonderful way to keep us all connected. How lovely it is to be able to look back on the horrible year of 2020 and be able to say that, yes, something positive came out of the pandemic!
The 2021 Journal is now available.
This year's journal will only be available online via the Members Only Area. Members of the league who have ordered the journal will be sent the password by post. If any member of the league would like the password, please contact the secretary via email and the password can be sent to you.
The Cancelled AGM and Annual Reunion 2020
Sadly the executive committee had to cancel the annual reunion and AGM for 2020 owing to Covid 19 and the restrictions placed by the government.
In order to fulfil the legal requirement to hold an AGM, the Executive and Benevolent Committees met, via Zoom, on 12 November 2020. The notes of that meeting are now available in the Members Only Area.
The next AGM will be held on 24 September 2022. Details will appear here nearer the time.
The 2020 AGM included a presentation from the Chief Nurse Alison Robertson about the work of the hospital in 2020, including its response to Covid 19. You can view (and download) her PowerPoint slides here.
During the 2019 AGM, Graham Davies, Consultant Immunologist, and Evey Howley, Immunology CNS, gave a very interesting presentation on Thymus Transplantation for Infants with complete Di George Syndrome. You can see (and download) their PowerPoint slides here.
We have recently welcomed two new members, Karen and Yvonne, to the Executive Committee. if you are interested in joining the committee please contact us via email at email@example.com.
International Nurses Day 2019 at GOSH
The day was celebrated in The Lagoon at Great Ormond Street Hospital on Friday 10 May. There was a colourful stand located next to the hospital shop. This was staffed by enthusiastic nurses and proved popular with the children and their parents along with all the hospital workforce.
An interesting world map indicated the countries from where many GOSH nurses had originated and proved what an international group of nurses there are at the hospital.
The Nurses' League made a donation towards the cost of a lovely tea and an enormous cake provided for the nursing staff at 3 pm. Everyone appeared to enjoy themselves and those that couldn't make it were well looked after by kind folk carrying laden plates back to their colleagues around the hospital. The Chief Nurse, Alison Robertson, gave a short address to all who could attend.
(from the address given by Imelda Charles-Edwards to the 2016 AGM)
I will introduce myself to those who do not know me. I was in the October 1967 set. I became a Staff Nurse and later a Sister on a general surgical ward at GOS. I also worked as a Sister on a medical ward in Oxford. After training to teach I spent 4 years at UCH School of Nursing before returning to GOS as Senior Tutor for curriculum development. This was at the time leading up to and then introducing Project 2000.
I became Head of the School of Nursing at the time of the move to higher education. The planned move in the Institute of Child Health collapsed as I took over and we had to find an alternative university home. This lead to a move to London South Bank University where I worked for 4 years before moving to the English National Board. This gave me amongst other things a unique opportunity to visit children's services from Paediatric Intensive Care to Community Children's Nursing teams and Children's Hospices. I then led the children's degree course by distance learning at the RCN before retiring. Since then I have been trustee at the Children's Trust Tadworth.
I am delighted and honoured to be asked to be President of the League to give me the opportunity to give something back to the place that has meant so much to me and has defined my career. I will give my energy to doing as good a job for all the members as I can.
PAST, PRESENT and FUTURE
To raise the League's profile and hopefully to attract more members, a day conference was decided upon to explore the many changes that have taken place in Nursing since the foundation of GOSH took place.
Following the decision to organise the event, Susan Macqueen and Di Robertshaw donned their thinking caps and soon six excellent speakers had been charmed into participating. Their task was to speak on the Past, Present and Future of nursing. The planning for the event was all a bit helter-skelter and involved a number of meetings in The Lagoon and many email exchanges but on the day, much to the relief of the organisers, everything proceeded like clockwork, a good demonstration of nursing teamwork.
Some of the speakers
All the speakers gave stimulating and passionate insights into their particular area of expertise. Jan Saxton offered a moving address about the plight of children around the time that GOSH opened its doors in 1852. She described the inspirational work of Thomas Coram and Charles West.
Susan Macqueen reminded us all of early aseptic techniques and then brought us up to date with the current thinking on preventing infection in healthcare. Liz Smith, Advanced Lead Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiac Unit, continued the theme of change, describing the improved prospects of children born with half a heart. She explained how there are now plans to introduce a virtual ward in the patient's home to increase parents' confidence and allow earlier discharge.
Following a splendid lunch with plenty of chat and reminiscences, Una McCrann talked about her specialist unit which deals with children with feeding disorders, and how attitudes have changed.
Kate Kahir discussed the massive improvements in the treatment of haemophilia, and how with early diagnosis and treatment, life expectancy is now so much longer. A recurring theme during the day was the plight of children in developing countries who have far shorter life expectancies than in the UK. Kate's excellent use of photographs affected many hearts in the audience.
The day was rounded off by Faith Gibson, Clinical Professor of Children and Young People's Cancer Care. She raised many provocative and strategic questions about the nature of the modern nursing profession; for example: has the profession moved too far away from the bedside and is the focus of a nurse's time on the right issues?
Many, many thanks to all those who gave their valuable time to speak to us, and to all the attendees. There were over 60 in total, with friends and colleagues meeting again after many years. The feedback on the day from participants was enthusiastic, and the Committee is considering what they may try next.
Recruitment of Link Members
Link Members are still needed for these counties:
- Channel Islands
- Isles of Scilly
- Scotland and the Isle of Lewis
If you feel you could undertake this role, please send your details to Melanie Molyneux, Membership Secretary. She will then send to you the details and information you will require.