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Southland Nurses Impress at Int. Conference

Southland Nurses Impress at International Conference

A presentation based on the Southland Hospital Migration project and the effects of major change on staff has impressed international nursing leaders at the International Nursing Leadership Conference, held in Sydney on 10-11th February 2005, winning best presentation, out of 52 other speakers.

Southland Hospital Clinical Nurse Coordinators Lisa Blackler and Melanie Paddon's presentation examined the "turmoil of change" that Southland Hospital nursing staff had undergone following the recent hospital migration, implementation of a new nursing structure, and new service alignment as a result of the hospital move.

Ms Blacker said the response to their presentation was overwhelming, with a continual flow of questions from international nurse leaders meaning their talk went well over time and the conference organisers having to cut off the discussion.

"Conference delegates were especially interested in the new nursing structure that SDHB Director of Nursing and Midwifery Leanne Samuel designed and implemented," Ms Paddon said.

The structure offers SDHB nurses more opportunity to take on leadership roles in the organisation and to develop a career pathway from ward nurse to clinical nurse coordinator, clinical nurse leader, associate director of nursing in a specialty, and finally to director of nursing.

"These are really exiting opportunities for nurses who are keen to advance their career in nursing. The structure has been well received by our staff, and the conference delegates were really keen to learn more about it," Ms Paddon said.

The new Southland Hospital design, realignment of services to improve clinical flow and the latest technology also impressed those at the conference Ms Blackler said.

"They were really impressed that a small secondary hospital like Southland had a PACS digital radiology system and the MRI scanner, and that the community had actively fundraised for this equipment."

"Recruitment of consultants to a small hospital was also of interest, which then gave us the opportunity to promote working in Southland with our new hospital and destinations such as Queenstown, Stewart Island and Fiordland all being so close," Ms Paddon said.

Whilst both nurses were quickly cornered by Australian nurse leaders and offered enticing job offers, both Ms Paddon and Ms Blackler have returned home to the career opportunities available back in Southland.

The conference was attended by a number of international nurse leaders, including the Executive Director of the Royal College of Nursing Australia; the USA Director of the Magnet Hospital project; Professor of College of Nursing Taipai, and the Chair of the National Nursing Education Task Force Australia. Topics ranged from SARS, recruitment and retention to nursing leadership in practice and in theory.

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