2nd November 2015
Here is the third in a series of Voices blogs from some of our Associate members who were able to join online with the 6th International Conference on Community Health Nursing Research (ICCHNR) which took place in Seoul in South Korea between 19-21 August.
The iHV was delighted to be able to support 5 health visitors to join the online streaming of the conference proceedings. We then asked them to write up a synopsis of one of the presentations that interested them to share with all our followers.
Laura Maguire – Synopsis of Translation of Research into Practice focusing on Health Promotion for Child and Adolescents
The 6th International Conference on Community Health Nursing Research (ICCHNR) took place in Seoul over the summer, welcoming community health nurses from 19 different countries. As a health visitor and current PhD student I was delighted at the opportunity of attending in a ‘virtual’ capacity with the support of the Institute of Health Visiting.
I have participated in online conferences before; the Virtual International Day of the Midwife (VIDM) conference held annually on 2nd May (International Day of the Midwife) is firmly placed in my diary.
The opportunity to attend online and the flexibility this offers fits in well with my busy working and family life. The collaboration of students, professionals and anyone with interest from across the
globe adds depth, motivation and a wider cultural perspective to my practice. The professional and personal growth I have experienced by attending a global celebration of the work of midwives has led me to reflect upon whether such benefits could be transferred to the Specialist Community Public Health profession? Perhaps we need an International day of Public Health Nursing? An internationally-recognised day to highlight the valuable contribution public health nurses make across the life course. A day where we gain local and national attention in order to extend knowledge of the profession and education of public health nurses locally, nationally and internationally?
During her welcome address Professor Sally Kendall highlighted the opportunities that international conferences provide; to collaborate with professionals from across the globe to develop practice and co-create knowledge. I am able to identify with such a perspective. For me the opportunity to learn from and engage with other professionals internationally has fostered a sense of camaraderie and rejuvenation in my work both as a health professional and also as a [very] novice researcher.
The theme for this year’s ICCHNR conference was ‘Health Promotion across the Lifespan’. I chose to review the symposium presented by Professor Hsiao-Yu Chen from Taiwan and Professor Nonluk Chintanadilok from Thailand, entitled Translation of Research into Practice focusing on Health Promotion for Child and Adolescents.
Professor Nonluk Chintanadilok discussed the invaluable contribution to health promotion that public health nurses in Thailand play in improving health outcomes for wider society, particularly when a life span approach to health and wellbeing is adopted. The importance of everyone’s role in health promotion in order to empower individuals to make positive changes to behaviour was highlighted and discussed. I found myself reflecting upon the concept of “Making Every Contact Count” (NHS Yorkshire and Humber 2012), a strategy aimed at improving lifestyles and reducing health inequalities here in the United Kingdom (UK). How much more effective would health promotion messages be, if anybody who had the opportunity to engage in a conversation to improve health did so in an evidence-based, holistic and compassionate way? The benefits and popularity of cycling to Thailand’s environment and wider public health are promoted and supported by many, including the current Prime Minister. Professor Nonluk Chintanadilok spoke passionately about a recent cycling event ‘Bike for Mom’ led by the Crown Prince of Thailand and the Prime Minister, in honour of the queen who is reported to be in ill health. It is hard to imagine such public engagement from our own Royal family and other influential figures upon health promotion messages here in the UK. However this innovative event was deemed a huge public health success and enjoyed by nearly 300,000 cyclists.
Thailand has performed well in improving health outcomes during the recent decade (United Nations Development Programme, 2014); life expectancy for both males and females is increasing whilst infant mortality is reducing. The pragmatic approach currently adopted by public primary healthcare services of engaging, not just with individuals but empowering families and communities in order to positively impact upon outcomes for children and families, appears to be contributing to improving the health of the Thai population across the life course.
Professor Nonluk Chintanadilok also spoke proudly and passionately of the current education of nurses and midwives in Thailand and the professional recognition that health promotion was a nurse’s ‘duty’ integral to their professional practice. The continuing professional development of nurses through nursing and public health organisations, along with a commitment to financial investment in future public health research was inspiring to hear, especially as I am currently in the position of being funded for my current PhD study.
Professor Hsiao-Yu Chen focused her presentation on the role of the school nurse and its pivotal contribution to improving not just adolescent health but impacting upon the wider health of families and communities. Global mortality and morbidity problems of adolescents were highlighted with adolescents clearly having significant needs for health services (Baltag, Pachyna and Hall 2015). Causes of premature death from road accidents, suicide, violence and pregnancy-related complications were discussed along with preventable or treatable causes such as, malnutrition and sexually transmitted diseases. Particular health concerns of Taiwanese adolescents include poor vision (myopia), dental caries and inadequate body weight. Bullying, smoking, depression, anxiety and teenage pregnancy were also briefly discussed.
As in the UK, childhood dental caries is a particular public health challenge for Taiwan. The cyclical and reflective process of action research was encouraged as a methodological approach for community health nurses to consider, in order to translate research into practice. It was inspiring to hear examples of action research projects such as one aiming to reduce dental caries, encouraging children themselves to design a dental hygiene poster and the development of a DVD by a school nurse to be used to promote oral hygiene. As a previous dental nurse with memories of caring for children following the trauma of ‘full mouth clearances’ and seeing the subsequent impact upon dentition, I am supporting the current ‘Sugar Rush’ campaign by Jamie Oliver. As Specialist Community Public Health Nurses, I wonder whether we should be doing more here in the UK to foster links with our dental colleagues in order to reduce the negative impact dental caries can have upon children and families.
Professor Hsiao-Yu Chen presented the benefits of positive educational links and the use of school nursing websites that are currently used in Taiwan as a social platform for health promotion. Schools reach the majority of children, adolescents and parents in the UK on a daily basis. The innovative use of social media continues to grow but would the presence of health visitors and school nurses upon school websites prove successful here in the UK to deliver health promotion messages? With the integration of health and education reviews would this be a good opportunity to forge and deepen relationships between health and education allowing us to be viewed as a holistic and seamless service for children and parents?
PhD student Birmingham City University
NHS Yorkshire and Humber (2012) Making every contact count.
United Nations Development Programme (2014) The Millennium Development Goals Eight goals for 2015.
Baltag, V., Pachyna, A, and Hall, J. (2015) Global Overview of School Health Services: Data from 102 Countries. Health Behaviour & Policy Review.2(4): 268-283.