Nurse leaders have joined clinical nurses, nurse managers, nurse educators and midwives to discuss the biggest challenges facing the future of nursing in the South Pacific region.
More than 300 nurses and midwives from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, the Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Nauru, Niue Island, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu have gathered in Melbourne this week for the four-day South Pacific Nurses Forum.
With the theme for the 16th forum titled ‘The future of nursing and midwifery – where are we heading?’, nurses are covering issues in the area of leadership and workforce to innovative education, working together across the South Pacific, regulation and accreditation, and implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
With a focus on the future, the forum has put nurse leadership in the spotlight featuring presentations on issues such as nursing leadership roles and their impact on nursing practice in the Solomon Islands, and the leadership issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nurses in Australia.
Emerging Nurse Leader Program recipients Catherine Ryan and Elyse Taylor have also spoken about their first year in the five-year program, an initiative of The College of Nursing Australia, which aims to equip and empower a generation of nurse leaders to take the nursing profession into the future.
Each year, the program accepts five nursing students at the end of their first or second year of their Bachelor of Nursing studies and mentors them in areas such as vision casting, financial management, public speaking and presentation, networking, research and writing, team leadership, communication and conflict resolution, project management and government lobbying.
Australian Nursing Federation federal secretary Lee Thomas said the South Pacific Nurses Forum, which was formed in 1982 and meets every two years, was an opportunity for nurses and midwives to examine the sector’s future.
“This is a great opportunity to share the benefits of advances in nursing and midwifery methods and technology and to discuss key areas of concern in the region, such as infant mortality rates, prevention and cure issues, disease control and nutrition and disaster preparedness,” she said.
“Nurses and midwives, no matter where they live and work, take pride in their dedication and determination to make a difference to people’s lives.”