In May 2019, I attended the Council of International Neonatal Nurses (COINN) 4 day conference in Auckland, New Zealand.
The conference was exciting to experience, a wonderful voice for global neonatal nursing, with representatives from sixty countries and fourteen national organisations.
From the opening to the closing ceremonies, each presentation gave meaning to the conference theme: Enriched Family - Enhanced Care.
How can we enable the highest level of loving gentle safe care for premature, sick and well babies and their families within their need for intensive and special care nursing.
Highlights from conference for me:
- The pre conference workshop ‘Practical Application of Neurodevelopmental Strategies in the Neonatal Setting’. A commitment and challenge to look at neurodevelopmental care (NDC), what it actually entails, necessities for optimal neonatal brain development, ‘traffic light’ cues for approach or avoidance responses neonates so beautifully give us, how individual neonatal units are meeting optimum NDC, and how we can facilitate ongoing change to enhance the lived experience of every premature, sick and well baby, their mother, father and family.
- Building relationships and safety, Community - Cultural partnership. The discrepancy of seeing things through our eyes that may or may not be the view of another. Recognition of the impact of trauma both generational and individual. The emphasis of trust and strategies for culturally safe care - safe care perceived by the receiver. The elephant in the room that impacts on and influences outcomes for neonates and their families.
- ‘The Impact of Language’, and the ‘Super Power Baby Project’ presented by Rachael Callander. Rachel and her magical daughter Evie’s journey, and published photographic book are a gift to us all - the celebration of Evie, and each beautiful little human being life - a reminder to embrace each child’s attributes even when their life is limited and to use informative, open hearted enabling language.
- The neuroscience of nurture. Prioritising skin to skin, holding babies with your heart, your eyes, your hands, your arms, gentle loving touch within the safety of their mother, father and family. The primal need for attachment to our mother for optimal growth and development and the lifelong impact of separation. The work of Nils Bergman, Heidelise Als and other pioneers informing us of the care we must provide for the safety of every little one and their family in our care.
- The impact of the neonatal journey, the lived experience of being a mother or father whose newborn baby needs neonatal intensive or special care. A journey of traumatic experiences and stress day after day and the heightened risk of this leading to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And how as neonatal nurses we can do so much to hold space, enable, and nurture parents and families in self care, and in the care of their little one.
- Incorporating neuroprotective family centred care in every aspect of neonatal intervention from administration and planning neonatal units, education of all involved at every level, to every core measure required in the care received within the unit by each and every infant and his her family. Neuroprotective, family centred, developmental care.
- Building strength and resilience, affecting and being affected by our experiences. Nurses, doctors, midwives - everyone in the neonatal team, parents and families. The actions and words we say to ourselves and one another. Creating the environment that fosters growth and optimal development that cares and holds each and every one, safe, secure, nurtured and loved. The environment that fosters and celebrates every person no matter how small.
This content of the conference is close to my heart and my specialty as a Meta Consciousness practitioner:
Health concerns, symptoms, emotions, thoughts and feelings that originate from
The experience of each, in-utero, sick, premature, or well baby, and their family
Traumatic experiences during pregnancy, birth and beyond
Two weeks following the conference, Newborn Behavioural Observation (NBO) training provided further opportunity to deepen my knowledge and to apply this within my work in caring for premature, sick, and well infants as a neonatal nurse in Special Care Baby Unit, and
when working with clients looking to heal:
- their or their child’s birth experience,
- feelings of disconnect from their mother,
- or a deep inner awareness that has always been there, a knowing that something is not right or ideal.
More on this in the next article titled ‘Newborn Behavioural Observation - enhancing the newborn experience and maternal / paternal / infant connection both now and in healing past trauma.
How this can inform us now and as we address our earlier life experiences. Link here
Callander, R. (2015). Super Power Baby Project. https://www.superpowerbabyproject.org/