Delivering neurosurgical nursing care to children.
Subject: Pediatric nursing (Practice)
Surgical nursing (Practice)
Authors: Conway, Becky
Duggan, Alison
Pub Date: 03/01/2012
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: March, 2012 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 284753729
Full Text: Last October, Alison Duggan and I were fortunate to attend the 39th annual meeting of the International Society of Paediatric Neurosurgeons (ISPN) and nurse symposium in Goa, India. Both of us are considered paediatric neurosurgical nursing resource people at Christchurch Hospital, though our positions are somewhat informal and self-appointed.

Our paper--"A tale of queens and champions: providing neurosurgical nursing care in a general paediatric ward"--set out to describe how Christchurch Hospital's paediatric department delivers good neurosurgical nursing care to children. Our message was simply that, as ordinary and experienced clinical nurses with an interest in paediatric neurosurgery nursing, we had taken on a range of teaching activities to help other nurses gain enough skills to nurse this small and specialised group of children competently. Our presentation was well received--we got a good round of applause and some questions and comments from our audience.

Of the other presentations in the nurse symposium, some reflected the differences in the size and relative wealth of nations, while others described the universal challenges inherent in this type of nursing. For example, an Indian nurse presented her research findings on the re-use of expensive disposable items in the neurosurgery intensive care unit. Almost all nursing presenters were unified in describing the lack of resources in psychology and inpatient neuro-rehabilitation for children under 12.

New Zealand's small size means paediatric neurosurgical nursing is a small and rather splintered "super specialty". In the United Kingdom (UK), much work has been done with benchmarking groups in neurosurgery by looking at patient numbers and outcomes for safe and sustainable neurosurgical services. National standardisation and protocols for paediatric neurosurgical care could be very helpful for nurses here.

We were surprised to discover our colleagues in the UK and in Germany regularly have a much higher nurse to patient ratio than we do. In this respect, we feel we come from the land of the lucky.

A meeting of the Indian Head Injury Society was particularly memorable and certainly caused us to reflect how lobbying, legislation and advertising in New Zealand have slowly brought about compliance with the mandatory wearing of seatbelts in cars, and helmets on bicycles and motorbikes. This made us realise how influential nurses can be in improving legislation through participation in NZNO and the Nurses for Children and Young People of Aotearoa (NCYPA) section.

We are keen to promote the concept of "queens" and "champions" in the paediatric department, by assisting other nurses to find their passion and to seize opportunities for peer teaching.

Our trip to India was made possible by a number of grants, including NZNO's Thomas Tippet overseas conference award, the Nursing Education Research Foundation and Gretta and Harry Hamblin Trust scholarships, and the NCYPA conference scholarship. The next ISPN conference is in Sydney in September and we intend being there.

Report by Becky Conway and Alison Duggan
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.