Nursing Conference: Challenges of the recession require imaginative responses

Health Science
Mary Collins, St. John Fisher College, John Wells & Trudie Chalder, British Association of Behavioural Cognitive Psychotherapies

Mary Collins, St. John Fisher College, John Wells & Trudie Chalder, British Association of Behavioural Cognitive Psychotherapies

At a conference at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today, researchers and health care leaders of international repute from the USA, Spain, the UK and Ireland highlighted the impact the global economic crisis is having on health care services and how the recession challenges traditional ways of working and requires imaginative and flexible responses from health care professionals.

At a conference at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today, researchers and health care leaders of international repute from the USA, Spain, the UK and Ireland highlighted the impact the global economic crisis is having on health care services and how the recession challenges traditional ways of working and requires imaginative and flexible responses from health care professionals.

The conference is the WIT’s third annual health care conference and marks the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Nursing at the Institute.

Professor John Wells said, “The department is very proud to have attracted international and national speakers of such repute and prominence to its 10th anniversary conference and we see this as a recognition of the success of the Institute’s close relationship with international, national and regional health services and providers.”

Prof. Wells, commenting on the substantive issues to be highlighted during the conference continued, “There is no doubt that the single biggest cost to health care around the world, apart from medicines, is trained medical, nursing and other health care personnel. What this conference has highlighted is that by getting professionals to work differently, substantial issues of resourcing can be managed effectively.

“However, this does not mean that we should be cutting the numbers of trained personnel in health care services. Prof. Ian Norman’s discussion of the crisis of public confidence in UK nursing highlights this point, which was further reinforced by Dr Brophy’s emphasis on the importance of Irish health services demonstrating compassion towards patients. When services cut professional numbers of staff delivering health care and/ or reduce the quality of training of those professionals, there is a direct impact on the quality of care delivered to patients and families. More importantly, there is a significant impact on both morbidity and mortality, as scandals such as mid-Staffordshire scandal in the UK demonstrate. We must avoid making such mistakes whilst managing our reduced resources.”

Prof. Mary Collins from the St. John Fisher College, USA spoke about American health reform and how it is leading to change in professional roles and encouraging innovation, creative and future visioning in health care, “Since the theme of the conference is the impact of the global economic crisis and how it is changing health care and the work of health care professionals, it seems fitting to look at nursing and its potential role as solution-finder. Nurses have the potential to be innovators and see the patient and family health care needs from many different perspectives. Solutions are possible when nurses become creative, inventive and resourceful.”

Prof. Trudie Chalder, President of the British Association of Behavioural Cognitive Psychotherapies, highlighted that half of new patients to outpatient clinics in the UK present with medically unexplained conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic tension headaches and sleep disturbance. She discussed the challenge of supporting such patients in financially constrained services and suggested ways this could be done economically.

Dr. Michael Shannon, Director of the Office of Nursing and Midwifery Services, HSE, emphasised the difficulties in determining workforce planning requirements which maintains quality of care within the complexity of clinical practice and how this can be managed effectively.

The Department of Nursing is the south east of Ireland’s academic centre for general, psychiatric and intellectual disability nurse education, as well as a range of postgraduate nursing specialities. Over the last ten years, over 1,000 student nurses have qualified through the department’s undergraduate programmes, undertaking their clinical placements throughout the south east. In addition, approximately 680 qualified nurses from the region have completed post registration degree programmes at the Institute.

The Department of Nursing is nationally recognised for its innovative work and practice based approach to post registration and postgraduate education and these programmes are closely aligned to the needs of clinical services and are delivered in partnership with the Health Service Executive. The department has also developed strong working relationships to support health related industries across the region. For example, the Department has worked closely with Rigney Dolphin in Ireland and the Cleveland Clinic in the USA on a joint venture to support delivery of 'connected health' services'.

WIT is the only institute of technology authorised to provide education of nurses to PhD level. PhD students at WIT are currently undertaking research in such areas as improving efficiency in nursing care delivery; care pathways in epilepsy services; symptom management and quality of life amongst patients with cancer and patient involvement in planning their own care in mental health and maternity services. In addition, the Department of Nursing, in collaboration with Dundalk IT, was the first to offer people with intellectual disabilities the chance to participate in a nationally validated programme in a third level institution.

For more information on nursing at WIT, visit the Department of Nursing webpage.

Related Courses

Master of Science in  Nursing
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  General Nursing
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Nursing Studies for Clinical Practice
Certificate in  Emergency Nursing
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Psychiatric Nursing
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Intellectual Disability Nursing

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