Rarotonga was a beautiful location to host the 19th South Pacific Nurses Forum to showcase evidence, experience and innovations of nurses and their contribution to Pacific communities. The theme for the conference was “Transforming Leadership – Nurses as Change Agents for Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in the Pacific”. This was to encourage nurses to take the lead, lead by example and fully engaged in participating in the design and development of health care services. Areas of focus included health workforce development, transforming leadership, enhancing clinical care, extending professional boundaries, health response to climate change, disasters and outbreaks. The forum provides a regional platform for nurses to share knowledge, innovation and experiences from the diverse cultures and territories across the South Pacific.
There were attendees and presenters from across the Pacific nations, New Zealand, Australia and also the World Health Organisation, International Council of Nurses and the International Council of Midwives. We were privileged to have Elizabeth Iro, from the Cook Islands, as the keynote speaker, who is the first Pacific Chief Nursing Officer for the World Health Organisation. What a great honour to have one of our own Pacific nurses leading an International organization and being the voice for nurses across the world.
In attendance from Alliance Health Plus Trust was the Pacific Integration and Development Services Manager, Metua Bates, Loli Mesepa Channing (Parish Community Nurse) and Pauline Fuimaono Sanders (Nurse Leader). Loli and Pauline presented at the Forum and contributed to the rich discussions about Pacific nurses positively contributing to Pacific health outcomes. Loli presented on her experience as a Parish Community Nurse in New Zealand. This unique role works with Pacific church communities to deliver self-management health education and support members to achieve positive health outcomes. The Parish Community Nurse model could be successfully applied within a Pacific context as a response to addressing NCDs.
From left: Pauline Fuimaono Sanders, Metua Bates, Loli Mesepa Channing
Pauline presented on her involvement in the New Zealand RN Designated Community Nurse Prescribing trial in 2017. This trial focused on nurses working in General Practice, Schools, Public Health and Family Planning settings in the Counties Manukau DHB area. Five nurses from the Alliance Health Plus Trust network are graduates and are successfully utilizing their new skills. Pauline invited Piri Puata, one of the nurse prescribing graduates, to share her experience about how this has positively influenced her nursing practice. Key benefits are autonomous nursing care, timeliness and affordability of care, reaching communities of need and high satisfaction from patients and their families. This level of prescribing could be successfully applied to Pacific regions and improve access to healthcare for communities.
The forum is an excellent opportunity to share ideas, resources, knowledge and experience. These new insights and relationships can support enhancements in practice, improved service delivery, changes in policy to ultimately lead to positive patient experience and health outcomes. Thank you to the Cook Islands Nurses Association for the amazing hospitality, co-ordination and facilitation of the 19th South Pacific Nurses Forum. Congratulations to Vanuatu who will be hosting the next Forum in 2020. Meitaki.