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Enriching neonatal nursing practice.

Nurses' contribution to the changing face of neonates was the theme of the annual two-day conference of the Neonatal Nurses' College of Aotearoa (NNCA), held in Auckland in October. It was organised by the Auckland City Hospital newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

The keynote presentation was by University of California neonatal nursing teacher Mary Lynch, who reflected on how far we have come in advancing neonatal nursing practice and suggested what the future could hold in terms of expanded practice roles for nurses and improvements in care for fragile infants. Her second presentation focused on ethical issues in neonatal care and raised some issues familiar to many nurses.

Reducing child mortality

Executive committee member Wendy Hines outlined the NNCA pilot project in Samoa to develop a teaching template for neonatal nurses working in developing countries. She was accompanied in her presentation by a neonatal nurse from Tupua Tamasese Meaote Hospital in Apia, Samoa, Robyn Lui Yuen. Lui Yuen's attendance at the conference was supported by NNCA. The pilot project is in Line with the United Nations' millennium goal of reducing the child mortality rate by two thirds in children under five. It also meets the objectives as set out by The Council of International Neonatal Nurses. A similar presentation was being delivered at the same time at the International Conference of Neonatal Nurses in Durban by executive college member Jenny Liley (see report below).

Neonatotogist Rebecca Simmons from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia gave an informative presentation on the outcomes of growth restriction in infants and insulin-dependent diabetes in pregnancy. Other plenary sessions covered oxygen delivery during resuscitation, the use of cooling in the neonatal intensive care, the use of humidified, high-flow oxygen and an overview of the contribution of advanced neonatal nurses to the specialty, presented by nurse practitioner Deborah Harris and paediatrician Phil Weston from the Waikato District Health Board NICU.

Neonatal nurses Lead national programme

Preventing shaken baby syndrome was presented by co-ordinator of the shaken baby programme, Kati Knuuttita, and clinical director of Te Puaruruhau at Starship Hospital, Patrick Kelly. This Ministry of Health-supported programme is being piloted at the Auckland City Hospital NICU and will roll out to other areas around the country. It's exciting to see neonatal nurses once again Leading a national programme.

Other presentations given by neonatal nurses covered research projects, case studies and issues from practice. We congratulate Diane Warren and Angela Warren from Auckland City Hospital NICU who were judged best presenters. Diane spoke on the prevention and management of intravenous extravasation injuries, outlining a project carried out to ascertain best practice guidelines, while Angela focused on retinopathy screening by neonatal nurses. Nurses are now being trained to take digital retinal images which are Later reviewed by an ophthalmologist.

A presentation by University of Auckland deputy vice chancellor and researcher Jane Harding and another by recently retired British neonatologist Colin Morley kept us on our toes to the end of the conference. Having two such high calibre speakers showed the great camaraderie that exists across the disciplines in neonatal practice.

This was a well organised conference which celebrated, inspired and enriched neonatal nursing practice.

Report by executive member

Mary Fahey
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Author:Fahey, Mary
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Dec 1, 2010
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