Speakers impart advice with healthcare professionals at maximum performance event


Nicola Willardsen (pictured above) reviews the Wales Deanery’s recent event ‘Walking the Tightrope: Maximising Your Performance’ which took place on Thursday, 15 February 2018 at the SSE SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff.

Hosted by Dr Mark Stacey and experts from DNA Definitive, the event was aimed at physicians and other healthcare professionals, and focused on maximising performance through human factors training and improved teaching and learning.

It featured twelve engaging talks from professionals across different fields, including medicine, sport and the military. Topics ranged from effective leadership skills and stress management, to climbing Mount Everest and nutrition.

The first speaker of the day was Prof Marc Jones, whose work is based on sports and performance psychology. His talk focused on building and maintaining confidence and resilience, in order to maximise performance.

The next talk was given by Dr Tom Hughes, a consultant neurologist. Dr Hughes focused on the importance of physicians acting as historians to add structure to, and improve upon, diagnostic thinking.

He was followed by Dr Jamie Barker, an expert in sports and exercise psychology, who spoke about challenging irrational beliefs and reinforcing connections between beliefs and their consequences.

Dr Barker also emphasised the importance of setting aside time to reassess your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

The next speaker was Paul Harris, a sports massage therapist, who taught the audience how to recognise and deal with muscle dysfunction, and how performance massaging can be important to physicians.

Next up was Steve Smith, who spoke about the importance of diet and nutrition in maximising cognitive function.

After a lovely lunch, Dr Paul Thomas gave a talk about challenging non-human processes, and embracing trust, risk, and creativity.

Nigel Redman, the elite coach development manager of British Swimming, then spoke about the importance of building relationships and purpose in elite performance.

The next session was led by David Radford Wilson, who spoke of his experience leading the British military expedition up Mount Everest, and how many of the tactics used in the expedition – teamwork, passion, and goal-setting – can be used in medicine.

He was followed by Becky James, a two-time Olympic silver medallist in cycling. Becky discussed her experiences of learning from setbacks, and emotional regulation strategies. 

Sam Warburton OBE, captain of the Wales national rugby union team and the British and Irish Lions, discussed his leadership experiences, and how to manage the transition between work and home.

The final speaker was Steve Eaton, who gave a talk on the importance of being adequately prepared for travel. 

In addition to these talks, the day also featured interactive ‘question and answer’ sessions, and an opportunity to ride a reverse bicycle. Overall, the day was very enjoyable and informative. 

You can find out more about New Initiatives, the unit behind this event, and keep an eye out for future events by visiting our website.

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