In an effort to support the strengthening of the role of nurses in Qatar, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), in partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Canada, recently hosted the 3rd Paediatric Nursing Symposium, under the theme, ‘Towards Sustainability: Leadership in Action’.

The two-day symposium attracted more than 200 nursing professionals, including charge nurses, head nurses, nurse educators, and clinical nurse specialists. The event featured state-of-the-art lectures and dynamic presentations from international and local nursing leaders, highlighting topics such as the journey of Qatari paediatric nurse leaders, leading in family-centered practices, nursing empowerment in the clinical practice environment, and nursing leadership in paediatric pain practices.

The symposium catered to nursing professionals impassioned to promote innovation in leadership, to adopt evidence-based best practices, and to advance sustainable change to provide the best care possible to the patients.

Chief Nursing Officer at HMC, Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby delivered the opening remarks at the symposium, stating:

This symposium builds on from our ambition to ensure that paediatric nurses working across HMC hospitals are well-equipped with the tools and skills they need to act as advocates for their young patients and their families. Since nurses work as direct care-givers within clinical practice, it is fundamental that they feel empowered within their roles so they are able to support professional practice, patient-centered care and a positive work environment within the organisation.’

Prof. Cannaby further added:

The specific clinical and leadership competencies the nurses develop at this symposium will augment the HMC nursing strategy, and help them to deliver the safest, most effective and most compassionate nursing care based on the individualised needs of each and every one of our patients.’

The international keynote speaker for the first day of the symposium was Professor Judith Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK. Prof. Ellis’ talk, entitled “Leadership in Action,” shed light on her journey as a nursing executive who paved the path for a best practice environment through nursing advocacy and leadership.

Pam Hubley, Chief, Professional Practice and Nursing, Hospital for Sick Children, Canada delivered the keynote lecture on the second day of the symposium. Her session, entitled ‘What is Driving Change: Practice or Technology?’ examined the idea of effectively utilising technology to modify nursing practices for enhanced patient outcomes.

Hubley commented:

It has been extremely rewarding for SickKids to be partnering with HMC for the last three Paediatric Nursing Leadership Symposiums. This symposium was especially important as nurse leaders across the organisation contributed to the program.’

During the two days of the conference, nurses received hands-on training and high-quality mentorship from senior nurse leaders. Concurrently, a series of facilitated leadership exercises engaged nurses in advancing conversations that relate to a shared vision, coaching others and recognising performance in order to positively influence a best practice environment, advancing practical strategies that relate to managing difficult encounters, collaborating with team members and communicating proactively to avoid conflict.

A leadership booth was also set-up at the event and delegates were encouraged to state their leadership messages and commitment to share with their teams. Additionally, a total of 18 posters were exhibited at the venue, which demonstrated leadership initiatives and strategies undertaken within HMC.

HMC and SickKids entered a five-year partnership in 2010 with the aim of transforming paediatric healthcare in Qatar. Under the partnership, similar annual leadership symposiums have been held in 2012 and 2013.