Over 500 student nurses, academics, healthcare professionals and people with learning disabilities, as well as their family and friends, gathered in Birmingham on Friday 26 April to attempt to set a new Guinness World Record for the most people in one room simultaneously signing ‘Hello my name is’ using Makaton.
The #HelloMyNameIs campaign calls for more compassionate care by highlighting the importance of seeing a patient as a person and putting them at the heart of decision making.
The Guinness World Record was attempted at the annual Positive Choices Conference for Learning Disability Nursing students.
The conference, organised this year by Birmingham City University, saw delegates travel from all corners of the UK to share best practise and learn from leading nursing professionals.
This year’s speakers included Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer (England) at NHS Improvement, and Paula McGowan – a parent of three who, following the untimely death of her youngest child Oliver, has dedicated her life to campaigning for better healthcare for people who have autism and learning disabilities.
Helen Laverty MBE, Registered Learning Disability Nurse and Professional Lead in Learning Disability Nursing at the University of Nottingham, and founder or Positive Choices said: “I was delighted to be asked to bring the 17th Positive Choices conference to Birmingham City University as our Chief Nursing Officer Ruth May says, there has never been a more important or rewarding time to be a Learning Disability Nurse!”
Samantha Salmon, Lecturer in Learning Disability Nursing at Birmingham City University, added: “Positive Choices was such a valuable and inspiring conference for me as a student learning disability nurse.
“It is truly a privilege to be hosting it at the University in 2019, which coincides with 100 years of Learning Disability Nursing”
The annual conference travels around the UK and next year will be held in Belfast for 2020.
Paula McGowan explained: “Conferences like this are vital because they bring like minded professionals together to further develop learning in the world of intellectual disability. It gives them the opportunity to network and share best practice, what works and what doesn’t.
“Learning disability nurses are vital in leading the way in educating other practitioners in understanding what a learning disability is and how to support them in various situations.
“They are crucial in changing a culture that is far from inclusive. Learning disability nurses empower their patients to have a voice so that they have positive health care outcomes.”
Find out more about Birmingham City University’s Learning Disability Nursing course on the University’s website.