2021 Program

The 2021 program is now available... the conference commences on Wednesday 8th September at 3.30 pm following a pre-conference workshop "professional responses to personal crises

invited speaker presentations & Current Workshop Synopses

Wednesday 8 September

Title: Something(‘)s changed? A voice to lead…
Presenter: Professor Christine Duffield

Synopsis: If ever there was a time for our profession to show the world our ability to change and adapt to circumstances, last year was it. Nurses rose to the challenge with new initiatives and approaches to care. However, there are other challenges facing us as a workforce if we want to be the voice to lead. This paper will explore some of these. Something’s changed, but somethings still confront us. 

Title: Nurturing Self-Care Within A Caring Workforce
Presenter: Carmen Betterridge

Synopsis: This presentation will examine principles of self-care in the context of demands placed on a caring and compassionate workforce. Through exploring the necessary workplace structures of psychological health and safety, together with self-compassion, mindfulness and accountability, she will discuss what it means to nurture self-care within a caring workforce. 

Thursday 9 September

Concurrent 1:
Title: Nurses and midwives’ experiences of returning to work and breastfeeding in NSW
Presenter: Dr Elaine Burns
Both the WHO and NHMRC recommend that women should exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and continue to provide breastmilk to an infant (after the introduction of solid foods) for the first two years of life.  To meet these recommendations most women will have to combine breastfeeding with return to work. Yet many workplaces present barriers to breastfeeding which force many women to stop earlier than they intended or create ongoing worry about maintaining breastmilk supply. This study focused on the experiences of registered nurses, and midwives returning to work in hospitals whilst maintaining breastfeeding.  Interviews with participants generated three overarching themes: women’s determination to get back into the workforce, not wanting to “rock the boat”, and difficulties in keeping their “head above water”. Despite workplace policies, which appeared to support breastfeeding, policies did not translate into practice. This study will report on the findings from interviews with nurses and midwives in NSW.  

Concurrent 2:
Title: “Catching the wrong train…”
Presenter: Professor Christine Duffield

Synopsis: There are many ways to approach planning (or not) your career.  Importantly is there such a thing as the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice or is it just a case of catching the wrong train. This paper will discuss the role of nurse leaders in guiding and developing our future workforce.

Concurrent 4:
Title: Translating developmental care evidence to the clinical setting: evaluating local caregiving practices.
Presenter: Nadine Griffiths
Developmental care has been practised in the clinical setting for 40 years with evidence to support its application continuing to evolve. Prioritising evidence based components of development care and reviewing their application in the clinical setting should be considered a priority in all neonatal units. The focus of this practical session is to explore current high level evidence and undertake a practical activity designed to review the application of developmentally supportive caregiving in your clinical setting. At the completion of the workshop participants will leave with priorities and strategies for implementation in their personal practice or for further discussion in their clinical setting.

Title: “A Hand to Hold”- Supporting a Family Integrated Approach during a Neuro-Protective Developmental Care round.
Presenter: Kate Gailbraith, Social work, Mandy Croft, Occupational Therapy, Elizabeth Anderson, Physiotherapy, and Ursula Haack CNS, RNSH 
This presentation will explore models of practice, informing the development of a neuro protective developmental care round within the Royal North Shore Hospital NICU. An interdisciplinary approach was taken, involving allied health and nursing participation during the Neurodevelopmental Care (NDC) round. The focus of the NDC round is family integration, with an emphasis on parental advocacy and empowerment in the care of their infants. This is demonstrated by conversing of age -appropriate neuroprotective strategies to the parent of the infants seen at the NDC round. The validation of the round is discussed by recognition of the multiple benefits for the infants, families and staff, and consumer feedback. Consumer feedback was collected during a formal evaluation process which is ongoing. By conducting and pursuing the NDC round, we acknowledge and recognise premature birth, the admission of an infant to the NICU and consequently the NICU journey as a challenging and potentially traumatic experience for the parents and infants alike. It is therefore that the NDC round has become a vital part in promoting neuro protective developmental care strategies within the NICU at Royal North Shore Hospital. The NDC round is utilised as a tool, promoting the development of a positive parent infant relationship in the long term, drawing from interdisciplinary expertise and resources.

Concurrent 5:
Title: Creativity in developing education in clinical practice: symposia on workplace learning culture
Presenter: A/Professor Jenny Weller - Newton
The complexity of workplace learning in healthcare influences the opportunities for an individual practitioner’s scope for skill development. This is due to learning being constrained by the multitude of interactions and cultural artefacts that either enhance the individual’s opportunities for education or, challenge the abundance of affordances that such a workplace setting, as healthcare, has to offer. Engaging with workplace pedagogy connects staff with change potential at both organisational and personal levels. This situated learning advances the capacity for individual practitioners and their teams to expand their sphere of influence, increasing out into organization wide, sustainable cultural change. However, in facilitating the development of education for clinical practice, a critical consideration is whether the clinical environment supports a learning culture. Critical creativity and appreciative inquiry are two approaches that will be utilised in this workshop to enable participants to map out their workplace learning cultures. Understanding the central constructs that support workplace learning is important for educators in their facilitation of practitioners and students’ learning and skill development.

Concurrent 6:
Title: Practical neonatal neuroimaging for clinicians
Presenter: Professor Jeanie Cheong
Neonatal neuroimaging has become increasingly important in the care of the “high-risk” newborn. The most common neuroimaging modalities in use in the Neonatal Intensive and Special Care nurseries are cranial ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. This session will provide some practical examples of the common conditions detected using cranial ultrasound and/or MRI, the correlation with long term neurodevelopment and the key messages to be considered for counselling of families

Title: Development of guidance for births at 22-24 weeks’ gestation in tertiary and non-tertiary hospitals
Presenter: Dr Rosemarie Boland
Over the past four decades, the gestational age at which active management and neonatal intensive care is considered appropriate has steadily decreased. Currently there is wide variation in approach to managing births at 22+0 to 24+6 weeks’ gestation, both in Australia and internationally.  This leads to wide variation in reported survival rates and long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes in surviving children. In this session, Dr Rose Boland will provide an overview of the development of statewide guidance for management of births at 22-24 weeks in Victoria, and her role as the Senior Project Officer at Safer Care Victoria in leading this project.

Closing Plenary:
Title: Health professional language and practices when supporting breastfeeding
Presenter: Dr Elaine Burns
The language and practices of health professionals can impact upon how a woman feels about breastfeeding and her breastfed baby. This presentation will report on the observed, and audio recorded, language used by health professionals during the early establishment phase of breastfeeding. This presentation will include the findings from several research projects which have focused on the language used by midwives, lactation consultants and trained breastfeeding counsellors. Exemplars of best practice for health professionals who provide breastfeeding support during the early establishment of breastfeeding, will be provided. There will be an opportunity to reflect on your own language and practices when providing breastfeeding support. Participants will be able to identify the components of communication which can enhance mother-infant connectivity and effectively support breastfeeding.

Title: Outcomes following extremely preterm birth - how far have we come in the last 25 years?
Presenter: Professor Jeanie Cheong
The care of the extremely preterm newborn has seen many advances in the last few decades, since critical innovations of care in the late 1980s and early 1990s such as exogenous surfactant to treat respiratory distress syndrome and antenatal corticosteroids given to women at risk of preterm birth. How these innovations have translated to improved clinical outcomes, both in the neonatal nursery and post discharge will be discussed in this presentation. The latest outcomes from the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study, spanning the last 25 years, will be presented to give the audience an update of changes in acute care and long term neurodevelopment of extremely preterm newborns.  

Friday 10 September

Session 2 Plenary:
Title: Understanding the emotional challenges experienced by hopeful, expectant and new parents and the impacts on mental health.
Presenter: Dr Nicole Highet
The journey to becoming a parent can bring many, often unexpected challenges.  The Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) sought to gain a deep insight into the range of emotional and mental health challenges faced by hopeful, expectant and new parents across Australia to inform the development of a national awareness and education campaign. Detailed qualitative surveys were received from over 600 explicitly detailing the range of challenges they faced along the journey to becoming a parent.  Common themes included coping with infertility, perinatal loss, birth trauma, maternal loneliness, postnatal rage, family violence and relationship strain.  These impacted upon the development various of mental health conditions, which were also described. For those living in Victoria particularly, the immediate and longer term impacts of having a baby through Covid- 19 were also detailed.

This presentation will provide insight into the specific challenges faced by hopeful, expectant and new parents, together with an understanding of those factors perceived to have made things worse as well and helped through these difficult times.  By gaining an insight into such experiences, we will be better informed and placed to ensure parents are better informed and supported throughout their perinatal journey. 

Concurrent 7:
Title: Using social media in research
Presenter: Professor Denise Harrison
This session will highlight the use of social media in research; the benefits, pitfalls and future directions. The session will include examples of studies drawn from the literature and from Denise’s team.  

Closing Plenary:

Title: Educating and supporting emotional and mental health in expectant and new parents – COPE solutions for health professionals
Presenter: Dr Nicole Highet

Synopsis: Health professionals need to be well equipped to identify and support those parents at risk of, or experiencing emotional and mental health conditions in the perinatal period.  In response to this, COPE has developed a range of valuable training and resources for both health professionals and those in their care. 
In this presentation, we will outline the key recommendations from the Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines, and provide information on the range of training programs and Guideline resources designed to support the implementation of best practice. We will also provide the latest updates in the rollout of the National Perinatal Mental Health Check – the world’s first national digital perinatal mental health screening program. The presentation will also showcase innovative resources designed especially for expectant and new parents.  These are designed to help parents to put in place preventative strategies early, develop local support networks, and equip them with knowledge and insights about what to expect, how to identify when professional help or support is needed, and how to access this.  The uptake and impact of these resources will also be outlined.

For all conference enquires please direct emails to conference@acnn.org.au

Updated 03 June 2021