Opinion

The big question: How can I benefit from going to the Unite-CPHVA Annual Professional Conference?

04 October 2019

This month we ask: How can I benefit from going to the Unite-CPHVA Annual Professional Conference?

Christopher Sweeney
Health visitor,
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Having completed a master of public health degree in 2018, I attended that year’s Unite-CPHVA conference as a means of disseminating my research findings.

Presenting at the conference gave me the confidence to seek publication, with ‘Exploring Glasgow parents’ views of the Equal Protection from Assault Bill’ appearing in Community Practitioner in May 2019.

This has led to other opportunities: the poster I presented at the conference is now available as evidence on the Scottish Parliament website, for example. I was also invited to present at a university, and a children’s charity asked me to summarise the results of my study for a non-academic audience.  

This was my first conference, and I was impressed by the organisation of the event and the high quality of the sessions

This was my first conference, and I was impressed by the organisation of the event and the high quality of the sessions. The variety of sessions allowed me to attend presentations on topics relevant to my field of practice, from the potential benefits of mindfulness to research on how health visitors can support multiple-birth families.

Attending the conference gave me valuable insight into the various opportunities available to community practitioners, whether it be working in academia, specialist roles, or being involved with the CPHVA Education and Development Trust.

I enjoyed the conference last year and look forward to attending again this month.


Sabrina Purse
Community nursery nurse, 
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust

Last year, I apprehensively entered an abstract to be considered as a presentation at the 2018 Unite-CPHVA conference. I had just finished researching and writing a paper on how health professionals can better understand and support adoptive families and was awaiting publication.

I had spent the previous six months compiling data and pouring my heart out into a piece of work I felt would have the greatest impact. The paper’s approval for publication had given me the confidence to go and find
a wider platform to reach more people.

When I was selected to present at the conference, I was shocked and very nervous. I had never presented on such a large scale before and was unsure what to expect.

But I didn’t need to be worried – I was blown away by the support I got from the audience on the day, which included the lovely I am a health visitor podcasters Amy and Jen.

I had such positive feedback afterwards that it gave me enough confidence to share my story and take my research further. I have since spoken at other conferences, written blogs and am back this year to present as a plenary speaker at the 2019 Unite-CPHVA conference.

Conference for me means being around like-minded professionals, sharing stories, experiences and research, and feeling supported enough to develop my passion further.

My drive has always been to ensure the families we look after receive the best possible care. Children who experience the care system are some of the most vulnerable children we will meet. They deserve the best possible support we can offer.

Conference Alert: Sabrina will be delivering a plenary session at the Unite-CPHVA Annual Professional Conference on 16 October, entitled Adoption and fostering.

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