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Forum looks at respiratory health across the age span.

More than 70 respiratory nurses attended the South Island Respiratory Educators' Forum in Christchurch in February. Despite its title, respiratory nurses working in the community, in primary practice and in tertiary care travelled from all over New Zealand to attend this event. The theme of the forum was "Across the lung span--from childhood to old age".

Entertainer Gary McCormick opened the conference with a light-hearted talk about a very serious problem. His presentation was entitled "A life-long non-smoker with tarred lungs." He has spent much of his career working in smoky pubs and has paid the price. He now has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and most health professionals assume he has been a smoker.

Topics at the forum ranged from exhaled nitric oxide therapy and avian influenza, to COPD management, essential education tips, nursing research and the ethics of tobacco legislation. A panel discussion entitled "Different perspectives on health research, funding and quality. Where to for the future?" featured panelists former Associate Minister of Health Ruth Dyson, Christchurch respiratory physician Ian Town, NZNO president Jane O'Malley and Partnership Health Primary Health Organisation chief executive Carolyn Gullery. The discussion provoked many interesting and thought-provoking questions from the floor.

The highlight of the forum for me was a presentation by nursing lecturer Lorraine Ritchie from the Christchurch School of Medicine's Department of Post Graduate Nursing Studies. Her presentation was called "Images of old age with a respiratory focus in New Zealand Literature and poetry." She stated that older people were portrayed in poetry and Literature with the same diversity of emotions present in old age itself--anger, joy, despondency, celebration, failure, betrayal and acceptance.

Two examples she gave were:

"So this is where it ends? Here, beneath a nurse's yawn As you labour for a breath" From "So this is where" by Owen Marshall and

"Good morning, emphysema. Good afternoon. Good night. Did you have a good day?"

From "Notes on emphysema" by Hayden Carruth. Respiratory nurse specialist at Christchurch Hospital Glenys Martin summed up the feelings in the room when she said: "When working with people who are Living with a chronic illness on a day-to-day basis, our ability to empathise sometimes needs to be refreshed. Thank you Lorraine for the opportunity to do this."

All the respiratory nurses who attended this well run forum took every opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new friends and networks, and to take away new learning and skills. NZNO's Respiratory Nurses' Section AGM was held at the end of the forum, with 20 nurses attending. Professional nursing adviser (PNA) Suzanne Rolls is the section's PNA and spoke briefly at the AGM. Minor changes to the rules and the revised Standards of Practice for Respiratory Nursing Practice were passed unanimously. The standards of practice will be posted on the respiratory nurses' webpage on the NZNO website, However, all respiratory nurses are encouraged to purchase a hard copy to be used when developing and maintaining their professional portfolio.

The AGM supported the active involvement of the section with the Respiratory Nurses' Special Interest Group of The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand to develop generic respiratory competencies of practice for registered nurses.

As there were sufficient numbers to fill the vacant positions on the national committee, a postal vote was not required. Committee members are Elly Grant, Pro Care Primary Health Organisation, Auckland; Tenisia Hager, Pacific Trust, Christchurch; Robyn Ingleton, Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, Wellington; Marina Lambert, respiratory services, Palmerston North Hospital; Kirsten Lassey, respiratory services, Hutt Hospital; Gillian McCloy, respiratory services, Wairau Hospital, Blenheim; Elaine Page, respiratory services, Tauranga Hospital; and Lyn Tissingh, Asthma and Respiratory Management, Bay of Plenty. The committee will be meeting in the near future to elect officers.

The meeting concluded with a presentation of thanks to Shirani Smith, respiratory services, Taranaki Base Hospital and Rae Smith, respiratory services, Grey Hospital, who are stepping down from the committee. The section appreciates the hard work these committee members have done over the past few years.

Report by section committee member Robyn Ingleton.
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Author:Ingleton, Robyn
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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