2024 Conference Programme

The conference committee are pleased to release the 2024 conference program. The breakfast sessions are still being finalised - we will keep you updated. 

2024 Conference Programme

Session highlights

Replanting the Birthing Trees: Transforming cycles of intergenerational trauma to cycles of nurturing and recovery
Professor Cath Chamberlain

Synopsis: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have adapted, thrived and survived for at least 2000 generations, but since colonisation, have been impacted by intergenerational cycles of trauma. This presentation will highlight the important life course opportunities for healing the past by nurturing the future in the first 2000 days. Key findings from four years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led co-designed strategies to improve perinatal awareness, recognition, assessment and support for parents experiencing complex trauma will be outlined. We will share our approach for recreating safe and sacred spaces in our innovative model, Replanting the Birthing Trees, grounded in Indigenous knowledges and worldviews and governed by community-controlled peak bodies. This project supports families to transform cycles of intergenerational trauma and harm to intergenerational cycles of nurturing and recovery so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families can, once again, live health happy lives in this abundant land we now share.

'A Level Playing Field'
Dr Natalie Duffy, A/Professor Campbell Paul, Dr Megan Chapman, Julie McKeown, Erin Church, Nadine Griffiths, Jo Bell

This plenary session will introduce four different models of infant and family centred developmental care (IFCDC) currently used in neonatal units within Australia:

  • The Neonatal Individualised Developmental Care Assessment Program (NIDCAP) and the Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Education (FINE) program
  • The Newborn Behavioural Observations (NBO) System
  • Family Integrated Care (FICare)
  • Circle of Care Optimising Outcomes for Newborns (COCOON)

Each of these models has evolved from the teachings of the pioneers of infant neuroprotection and neurodevelopment – Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Heidelise Als, and Dr. J. Kevin Nugent – who have dedicated their life’s work to ensure the language of infants, and the needs of their families, guide their care. Collectively they taught us that infants communicate their care needs and preferences from birth, yet in the noxious technical environment of the neonatal unit their “voice” is often misunderstood or overlooked. Individualised care practices, in response to infant behaviour, foster sensitive and responsive relationships between both families and their infant, and clinicians and the infants they care for, all while decreasing the incidence and cumulative effect of pain and stress responses. By supporting responsive relationships in the neonatal unit, neural connections are built, protected, and strengthened in the infant's brain that support the development of communication and social skills and emotional wellbeing. Through these infant and family centred practices and relationships, neurodevelopmental outcomes are optimised. After a brief introduction to each of the IFCDC models, we invite questions and comments from the audience to broaden understanding of the models and encourage discussion around how each may be used in the neonatal setting.

Supraglottic Airways: The Future of Surfactant Administration?
Dr Calum Roberts
Synopsis: Traditional methods of surfactant administration are dependent upon laryngoscopy, but many infants with respiratory distress syndrome are cared for by clinicians who do not have opportunities to maintain and develop skills in this procedure. Supraglottic airways may represent an easier, more generalisable method of surfactant administration for clinicians, which may also be more comfortable for infants. In this presentation, I will summarise the current evidence for supraglottic airway surfactant administration, and describe the research that our team are currently leading in this area, including the international 'SURFSUP Trial'.

‘What’s Next?’
Dr Joanne Scott
A nursing career is a life journey.  Regardless of what inspired you to embark on this journey, it is the decisions you make along the way that determine the direction you will take. Nursing is a dynamic profession; it is constantly evolving, thus allowing new opportunities for professional growth and development. It is up to us as individuals to map out our own career pathways. The professional pathway I chose was that of a Nurse Practitioner. Through sharing my journey, I hope to encourage you to reflect on your own careers, and inspire you to consider “What’s Next?”

"The future of nursing".
Adjunct Professor Karrie Long
Synopsis: The National Nursing Workforce Strategy aims to address workforce challenges and support the nursing profession to deliver person-centred, evidence-based and compassionate care. Hear about the current strategic projects being undertaken by Victoria's Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer (CNMO) that will impact the future of nursing in Victoria, including the workforce strategy.

The ACNN Neonatal Nursing Workforce Workshop Outcomes
Trish Lowe and A/Professor Margaret Broom
Synopsis: In March 2024, the ACNN Leadership and Research Special Interest Groups co-convened a neonatal nursing workforce workshop to explore the challenges faced by the neonatal healthcare workforce and construct a list of recommendations and strategies to share among the neonatal nursing community and other stakeholders to address them. We emerged with many recommendations regarding neonatal nurse recruitment, transition to specialty practice, workforce planning, staffing and skill mix, education, and professional development. A summarised version of these discussion findings will be presented, along with how these results will be shared with the neonatal nursing community and other stakeholders.

Breakfast Session 
General Movements Assessment in the neonatal unit and infant follow-up  
Professor Alicia Spittle and Dr Joy Olsen
The General Movements Assessment is a non-invasive assessment based on observation of infant’s spontaneous movements. It can be used prior to term, up until 20 weeks’ corrected age, to identify infants who are at high-risk for neurodevelopmental conditions, such as cerebral palsy. In this session we will cover:

  •        Typical development of general movements in preterm and term infants
  •        Trajectories of general movements from birth, and predicting developmental outcomes, including cerebral palsy
  •        Current research and clinical practice using the General Movements Assessment
  •        Applications of the General Movements Assessment for infant assessment in the neonatal unit and follow-up in early infancy
  •        Practical considerations for conducting the General Movements Assessment
  •        Integrating technology, such as smartphone apps, into the General Movements Assessment

For all registration inquires please contact Nikki at acnn@abercrombiemanagement.com.au or call: 02 4905 0632