Conference focus on older patient care

JUST how should Ireland’s nursing staff and managers prepare if they are to cope with double the number of over-65 patients by 2038? And how best do we meet the psychosocial needs of older adults in residential care settings?

They are among the issues nursing staff from across the HSE South, and their managers and directors will address as they gather at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) tomorrow for a conference which aims to ensure training in the sector meets future clinical practice needs.

Building the Bridge — Transforming Education to Meet Clinical Practice Needs is an initiative run by the Department of Nursing at WIT. Leading nursing officials from across the south and south-east will gather at the event at the college’s Nursing Building for the day-long event.

Other key topics for discussion which have been researched by staff working within the region include: medication protocols in care of older person settings; care of the elderly rehabilitation; an analysis of employers’ views on disability policy and the employment of people with enduring mental health problems.

The goal for nurse educators today is to ensure nurses are equipped to meet the challenges of everyday practice, within a diverse and rapidly changing health care environment, according to conference organiser and WIT Department of Nursing course leader Sue Fensom.

“Following the transition to a graduate profession in 2002 qualified nurses are now seeking programmes at post-graduate level,” she said. “Fundamental to all nurse education programmes is the development and application of knowledge concerning the use of evidence for best practice.”

However, she said that a greater challenge lies in ensuring this knowledge is not only transferred to the practice setting, but results in actual practice improvement and development.

“It is our belief that the best outcomes for patients will be if nurses enrich their knowledge through education and apply learning to improve clinical practice.”

Head of nursing at WIT Dr John Wells will also address the conference and explore the issues and identify how departments of nursing need to develop to be relevant to the needs of clinical service.

The event will show how WIT and the HSE South have embraced a collaborative partnership to deliver a new curriculum that embraces practice development.

“It will also allow students to share the work they have undertaken while studying at WIT to develop clinical practice.

“The event will also demonstrate the teaching methods used in enquiry and practice-based learning and will highlight practice development initiatives that have taken place as a result of the engagement with post-registration and post-graduate nurse education within the south-east.”

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