Professor Christi Deaton Looks Back At The FNF Conference and Forward to Spring

Spring is coming…

The lengthening hours of daylight, increased birdsong, and early emergence of a few buds on shrubs give us hope for the arrival of spring (despite still cold weather to come!).  The second of February marked the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  It was celebrated as Imbolc in the pagan year, and Candlemas or Brigid’s Day in the Christian tradition.  Lighting fires and candles were part of the tradition to celebrate the increasing power of the sun.

Another event associated with light (the lamp of knowledge), the Florence Nightingale Foundation Annual Conference was held on the third of February. The conference also gave us hope; in triumph over adversity (Catrin Pugh’s moving story of overcoming third degree burns to more than 90% of her body), in the power of a single individual to change things (from Jo Malone’s incredible entrepreneurship to rising star Dionne Levy’s transformation of antenatal services for women with mental health problems).  It was also an opportunity to increase our knowledge in the master classes, network with colleagues and enjoy the traditional end of evening dancing at the Gala Dinner.  Truly a celebration of hope and our individual and collective strength!

Spring is my favourite time of year and invariably I start to feel more hopeful and more energised once January has passed.  For my research group this spring brings the start of two new studies, and hope that we will hear good news from three studies under review.  Two doctoral students are starting this spring, including one of our internal research fellows, Gillian Gatiss, (internal fellowships funded by Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre and Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust) who has been awarded a HEE/NIHR clinical doctoral research fellowship.

So spring is coming, although winter – and cold weather – still holds sway.  As a metaphor for growth and new beginnings, we hope that spring will bring respite from the almost overwhelming pressures affecting our health and social services this winter.  At the very least we hope that it will renew our ideas, energy and strength to provide excellent, evidence-based care for patients despite the many challenges we’ll continue to face.


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