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Dr Melaine Coward, Professor Ruby Wax and VIP guests discussed how we can combat the stigma around mental health at special panel event.
Dr Ann Robinson, Senior Teaching Fellow (Midwifery)
Midwifery an international perspective
Know. Share. Improve.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday October 11, 12 & 13 2017
Emerging topics and innovation in midwifery
Maternal Distress during pregnancy and postpartum
Reproductive health and a healthy lifestyle
When asked by Professor Jill Shawe to participate in an International Conference in Gent (Ghent in English) I saw it as an opportunity not only to present my research and meet midwifery colleagues working and studying in Belgium, but also to experience ‘Eurostar’ for the first time and to explore Gent!
The conference was held at Gent UZ, a large city University which in Flemish is abbreviated from Universitair Ziekenhuis Gent. Gent University Hospital is on the same University campus, next to the University Centre for Nursing and Midwifery, both the university and the hospital are autonomous entities of the Flemish Government.
The conference delegates were a mixture of Masters in Midwifery students and practitioners, some working in the hospital on the campus site.
The conference was presented in English and although all staff and students spoke fluent English it was remarkable to witness presentations being delivered in English by Flemish presenters, to a non-English speaking audience, I hasten to add my Flemish is very poor!
This was a three day conference focusing on three distinct aspects of midwifery practice, Emerging topics and innovations in midwifery; Maternal Distress during pregnancy and the postpartum and Reproductive health and a healthy lifestyle. Erasmus funding meant that I was to participate for more than eight hours, I duly agreed to co-chair day one with Professor dr. Inge Tency and to present on day one and two.
The first day entitled emerging topics and innovations in midwifery included presentations from midwives focusing on: Remote monitoring, in the prenatal period (dra. Dorien Lanssens (Belgium); The power of consensus in obstetric care (dra. Marlies Eggermont (Belgium) and Federal evidence based practice (Dr. Marijke Eyssen from the Belgian Health Care knowledge Centre. I presented research on the role of the Consultant Midwife: An exploration of the expectations, experiences and intricacies.
Day two entitled maternal distress during pregnancy and the postpartum was fascinating; I presented on pregnancy following assisted conception, others on creating a perinatal Mental Health Network in Flanders from the point of view of a Mother Baby Unit (Mr. Klaas Bauters (Belgium); Advanced practice in Mental Health nursing (Mrs Patricia Lok (The Netherlands) and Everything Pink? Partner Violence, psychosocial health and perinatal care (dr. An-Sofie Van Parys (Belgium).
Breaks in the day provided an opportunity to network and to talk with the newly qualified midwives undertaking an MSc Midwifery, very different experiences to our own Masters students who usually have a couple of years practice experience before commencing further study.
Professor Jill Shawe and Dr Kath Hart spoke on day three (Reproductive health and lifestyle), Jill presented our own PREPARE study on Preconception Care whilst Dr Hart concentrated on nutrition surrounding fertility, early pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Friday for me was a day off and time to explore Gent particularly the famous St Bavo’s Cathedral, famed for its alter paintings by the Van Eyck brothers in the 14th Century, stolen (and returned) during World War Two – one of the world’s great treasures.
Overall a wonderful opportunity.
Dr Pat Colliety
Director of Studies for NMC, Senior Teaching Fellow Professional Qualification Lead
The first thing to say about the experience of teaching in Stavanger is that if you get the chance to go, do. It is very easy to get there with direct flights from Gatwick. However, beware the dreaded self-check in machines. As with all do-it-yourself machines, I ended up having to call for a human to sort it out.
However, once that hurdle was successfully negotiated, the rest of the trip was easy. I added the weekend either end of my teaching, which meant that I had time to explore the town and the area. This is a view of my daily commute to the university. I think that you will agree that it is slightly more pleasant than the A3.
The staff at the University were extremely welcoming. As with any trip, I was embarrassed by their flawless English and my complete inability to even attempt their language. I was asked to run a staff seminar, which went well until one of the participants let slip that she had just completed her MSc dissertation on the topic, which rattled my confidence somewhat!
I was then asked to deliver sessions on child development, which I was comfortable to do. Fortunately the students also spoke flawless English and were very tolerant of a strange woman turning up to teach them. They were polite enough to say that they enjoyed it and found it of interest.
My main teaching was helping with a simulation of dealing with aftermath of a bus crash. First we practiced putting on neck collars and getting people on to back boards. Then some volunteer casualties stuck on some realistic wounds, climbed out of a window and went to lay down outside. The rescuers then went and sorted them out, carried them back in through the window and in to the classroom. My question to each group in the debriefing session was ‘How did it feel being strapped on to a board and carried?” They all said that it was not a pleasant experience and that they felt totally helpless.
Teaching successfully negotiated, I then went sightseeing. Had you told me that I would find a museum about oil exploration in the North Sea interesting enough to spend 2.5 hours there, I would have laughed at you. However, not only was it all fascinating, there were lots of buttons to push and levels to pull and diving suits to climb in to.
Then there were the fjords. My goodness me. I was completely awestruck by them. They rank as one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The pictures do not do them justice at all.
The town is lovely, lots of places to eat and drink. It is a cruise port, so you can go and marvel at the sheer size of the cruise ships and dream about having enough money to travel on such a thing.
To conclude, if you get the chance, go!
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