The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association’s (APNA) 10th Annual National Conference was held recently in Brisbane, under the theme Nurseforce for the Future.
In this latest post from Croakey’s ongoing coverage of the two-day #Nurseforce event in Brisbane, watch this compilation of interviews by journalist Marie McInerney with presenters and delegates, discussing clinical and practice issues, and the ways ahead for better nursing, better patient-centred care, and better work environments.
VOX POP: Issues on the agenda at #Nurseforce
As the conference was set to open, Croakey asked four delegates to talk about who they were and why they were at #Nurseforce. They turned out to be a key group of presenters from the University of Wollongong: Sue McIness on mental health, Sharon James on lifestyle risk prevention, Dr Christine Ashley on the transition from acute to primary health care nursing, and Professor Liz Halcomb on workforce issues.
Stigma about blood borne viruses: when health care is unhealthy
Most cases of discrimination against people with hepatitis C occur in health care. That was the introductory message to a video featuring people with lived experience of blood borne viruses about the stigma and discrimination they experience in health care settings.
It was part of a presentation by Melinda Hassall and Shelley Kerr from the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine’s (ASHM) Nursing Program about a new online learning module. It’s being developed to help nurses gain a greater understanding of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) and embrace changes to practice and policy to reduce stigma and discrimination experienced by patients with these blood borne viruses.
On being 2018 Nurse of the Year
APNA’s 2018 Nurse of the Year award was won by registered nurse Cathy Carrasco, who works at the Carnegie Medical Centre in Melbourne. APNA highlighted the comprehensive system she has developed for ensuring that care plans, care plan reviews and home health assessments are “carried out with clockwork regularity” and her work to involve her clinic in two studies, on anxiety in older adults and cancer screening in general practice.
Carrasco talks here about her work and broader issues in nursing, with colleague Mary Reynolds, from the South East Melbourne Primary Health Network.
Read more here about the awards and some superhero action at the conference.
Why we need practice nurses looking for loose wedding rings
Adult malnutrition can often be missed in screening tools, and elderly patients are rarely in hospitals long enough to be treated, with the average stay of 4.7 days after an acute admission.
“We’re pretty good but can’t really do anything in less than five days for malnourished patients and it requires coordination back in the community,” says Dr Peter Collins, from the Queensland University of Technology and a research fellow at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.
He says that is why he’s passionate about the work clinicians do in the community, and sees practice nurses as playing a vital role in spotting the early, critical signs of malnutrition – ill-fitting dentures, a wedding band loose on the ring finger, clothes that no longer fit.
Collins told the conference the etiology of malnutrition is complex – sight, smell, taste, dental, functional capacity, budget, deprivation, isolation, and the strongest predictor of risk is postcode. And the toll is high. Patients identified as malnourished or at risk were three times more likely to be frail and had poorer survival rates.
Setting up a teen clinic in coastal NSW
A spate of suicides among young people in the NSW town of Bega about three years ago rocked the small coastal community and has led to the creation of a Teen Clinic in the town, now being replicated at four other local general practices. Registered nurse Meghan Campbell describes the challenges in setting up the clinic and how its success is being measured, as well as the need to establish a sustainable funding model for such innovative models of care – particularly in rural and regional Australia. Read our story here.
“Listen a little deeper” for memory loss
With 50 per cent of dementia cases in the community remaining undiagnosed, delaying appropriate care planning, Caroline Gibson felt that people with dementia weren’t getting what they needed from primary care.
She has led the development of the Memory Health Support Service (MHSS) in the Ballarat Community Health GP Clinic, which operates as an integrated service within all consultations, rather than as a separate clinic.
It’s training practice nurses and doctors to “listen a little deeper”, so they can pick up on clues to cognitive impairment that can play a crucial role in overall health and chronic disease management, she says. Read our story here.
Tips from the frontline: ‘don’t be paternalistic’
Keynote speaker Lesley Salem is a nurse practitioner with Gidgee Healing in Doomadgee in far north Queensland.
She talked about health promotion, particularly in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the risks that it can be unhealthy and unproductive when it is “top down” rather than “bottom up”. Beware also of paternalism, overkill, promising to turn straw into gold and stereotyping, she said. Read our story here for her tips on what works and what doesn’t.
VOX POP: Some conference ‘takeaways’
“It’s been uplifting. Sometimes as a nurse, we don’t always feel uplifted so that’s been really pleasant.” That was one of the takeaways from the conference from Wagga Wagga nurse Alison Bradney. For her practice colleague Elizabeth Blucher, who celebrated 50 years as a registered nurse at the conference, one of the highlights was new insights into osteoporosis. More highlights from delegates in this quick vox pop before the final plenary at #Nurseforce.
Plus some posters from the conference
Bookmark this link to follow Marie McInerney’s ongoing coverage of the conference.
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