This week Ko Awatea is co-hosting the APAC Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care.
The Forum has attracted world health leaders to New Zealand, has a range of topics relevant to the healthcare challenges faced here and around the world, and offers a valuable opportunity to learn from one another.
Tomorrow, at a pre-conference cross-sector forum being held here at Ko Awatea, Don Berwick will be speaking at around 12.45pm in the main lecture theatre and this session will be opened up for staff and Centre visitors, so please come along if you can. If you’re interested in population health and cross-sector initiatives, it’s a must-see (and we’ll be videoing it for those who can’t make it).
If you are one of the fortunate Counties Manukau staff who will be attending the main forum (which is being held at Sky City), I hope you enjoy it, learn plenty, contribute, and share what you learn with your team on your return next week. Below, I also have some tips and a favour to ask.
If you are not attending, next week please quiz your colleagues who are attending about what they learned – let’s make sure the knowledge is shared. And please do come along to the Don Berwick talk tomorrow if you can make it.
And whether you are attending or not, if you are also one of the many people who have played a role in organising the forum, thank you so much for your efforts. It is a huge task and every contribution is appreciated.
Advice for attendees
Preparing yourself for the Forum is similar to going away on a well planned holiday. You book your tickets in advance, know where you want to go and what you would like to see, and you want to return home satisfied with your experience.
So how can you get the best out of an action-packed three days? For those of you who are avid conference goers, you may already know the ins and outs of how to optimise your time, but here are a few suggestions from what I’ve learned over the years:
- Read the conference programme thoroughly, and select the sessions that will be most likely to improve your skills. It’s hard to go to every session and you don’t want to come away after two days overwhelmed by information. If you are struggling to make a choice, go to sessions you have an interest in that will stretch your knowledge.
- Prepare. Before you go, have an idea of what you would like to get out of the Forum. Do you want to bring up a topic for discussion or are there some burning questions you need answers to? Make a note of these and bring them with you.
- Network, network, network. The APAC Forum provides an amazing opportunity to meet and talk to healthcare leaders from New Zealand and around the world. Make yourself known to people around you – even sit next to people you don’t know. In my early days of conference going I was surprised by people who spent the majority of their time networking and only attending a few sessions. I thought, what a waste of time coming to a conference and not going to every session available. What I learnt is that these people had done their homework, knew who they wanted to talk to, and were making crucial connections that would carry on long after the conference had ended.
- Become an active participant, asking questions and making comments. The topics will take on new life for you.
- Don’t’ be in awe of the presenters: These people love to share what they have been doing – that’s why they are there. If you have some questions to ask or would like to share your experiences – this is the time. Introduce yourself in the breaks and make yourself known.
- Business cards. Take plenty with you, they help new acquaintances to remember you. And tactfully collect them so you can follow up with emails, phone calls and appointments.
- Meet and thank everyone who served on the conference planning committee. They deserve your compliments. And when you thank them, you may well stand out as one of the few who did.
A favour to ask attendees
To help all attendees, we are putting together ‘nutshell’ summaries of the 21 unique workshops that we’ll email out to attendees at the close of the conference. These are just one-page lists of the main topics covered, the key knowledge shared, and an attendee comment.
If 21 of you could each offer to cover one workshop, that would share the load, provide a range of voices, and free-up our writing team to type-up and polish.
If you would like to volunteer, please email your name and the code of the workshop to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will co-ordinate a schedule and get back to you with a form to fill out on the day.