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Care Of Infants Focus Of Combined Meeting

This week the NZ Neonatal Nurses Association, The Eric Burnard Charitable Trust, and the NZ Perinatal Society will be holding a combined scientific meeting in Wellington. These organisations all focus on the care of infants around the time of birth and in the postnatal period.

The combined meeting will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington from Sept 13th to Sept 15th.

NZ Neonatal Nurses Association Annual Scientific Meeting

Wednesday Sept 13th

On the first day of the meeting the Neonatal Nurses Association will meet to hear a variety of invited speakers discuss issues related to the care of the newborn. Nurses will also be presenting their own research from neonatal intensive care units around the country. The Annual Meeting enables nurses to have the opportunity to network with their colleagues and share experiences and ideas. The keen interest in research and changes in care practices shown by neonatal nurses and nurse practitioners working in New Zealand is a major contributor to the good outcomes achieved for preterm infants cared for in neonatal units in New Zealand.

Eric Burnard Charitable Trust Neonatal Update

Thursday Sept 14th

On the second day of the meeting the topic for discussion is “Decision making at the margins of viability”. This meeting is sponsored by the Eric Burnard Charitable Trust. Eric Burnard was born in Gisborne in 1916 and educated at Wanganui Collegiate School and the Otago Medical School graduating MB ChB in 1940. He did further training overseas and in 1961 was appointed to the Children’s Medical Research Foundation in Sydney to develop Research in the Newborn. Under his leadership a unit of international standing was developed. He retired from the Foundation in 1981 and died in 1991. The trust was set up to enable visiting neonatal paediatricians of international standing to visit New Zealand to share research knowledge with local doctors and nurses working in neonatal care.

The visiting fellow for 2006 is Professor Lex Doyle. Professor Doyle is a neonatal paediatrician and is Head of the Clinical Research Development Service at The Royal Women's Hospital, Melbourne. He also has a personal chair in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and Paediatrics, at the University of Melbourne. He is the Convenor of the Victorian Infant Collaborative Study Group, one of the first research groups in the world to collaborate to determine the outcome for geographically defined cohorts in tiny / preterm infants, rather than the outcome for just hospital-defined, disease-specific, or outcome-specific cohorts.

Also invited to speak about outcomes for extremely preterm infants is Dr Noel French. Dr French is currently head of department of the Neonatal Clinical Care Unit at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth and heads the Neonatal Follow up program in Western Australia. He has a joint appointment with the State Child Development Centre where in addition to seeing preterm children, he is involved with assessments of a wide variety of childhood developmental disorders.

The purpose of this meeting is not to reach a consensus regarding our approach to infants born at the margins of viability but to have an opportunity to have Australasian data presented about outcomes for extremely preterm infants in the hope that this will inform decision-making at local level.

NZ Perinatal Society Annual Scientific Meeting

Friday Sept 15th

The Perinatal Society of New Zealand is a multidisciplinary group. Membership is open to any health care professional or scientist interested in the care of the fetus/newborn. Members come from differing backgrounds including neonatal paediatricians, neonatal nurses and neonatal nurse practitioners, obstetricians, midwives and scientists working particularly in research focussing on the perinatal period. The invited speakers on the final day of the conference reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the Perinatal Society. There will also be a free papers session of original research.

The sessions will be closed to the public but Prof Lex Doyle and Dr Noel French have agreed to speak to the media if there is interest.


Dr Dawn Elder

On behalf of the Organising Committee

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