Chair: Angela Rantell
The inaugural meeting of the Nursing and Midwifery Special Interest Group (SIG) took place at the 42nd IUGA Annual Meeting in Vancouver. A small working group built on discussions from an initial teleconference to create a plan to encourage nursing membership in IUGA and to consider what learning resources and networks can be developed.
IUGA has already recognized the roles of the midwife and specialist nurse in Urogynecology and reduced the membership fee for new and current members alongside the reduced registration fees for the Annual Meetings. The IUGA Office helped to develop a survey that was distributed to all IUGA members to gauge how many nurses are working in specialist roles alongside Urogynecologists, and if the role exists in all countries. Nurses who responded to the survey were also asked questions related to their scope of practice and what they would want to gain from membership in IUGA. An overview of the initial responses to this survey was discussed at the SIG meeting.
The main focus of the inaugural meeting was to start to consider what we would like to achieve as a SIG in the next year and what the future hopes for this SIG may include. One of the main hopes for the next year is to introduce some midwife and nursing-themed lectures onto the IUGA Academy, including topics such as bladder retraining, teaching clean intermittent self-catheterization, pessaries for prolapse, etc. and further expanding this in the future with ideas including advancing the role of the nurse specialist, percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation, flexible cystoscopy, intra-detrusor botox injections, etc. We also aim to encourage some more nursing and midwife-specific exhibitors to attend the Annual Meeting so that the exhibition hall may have some more conservative devices, catheters, skin care products, etc. that are relevant to conservative management of women but rarely seen at the meetings. It is hoped that these exhibitors may also be encouraged to provide sponsorship for nurses and midwives to attend the meetings or sponsor a dedicated nursing workshop or networking lunch at the meetings.
In order to aid networking and information gathering/sharing, the IUGA Office will also help to create a website forum where midwives nurses will be able to share ideas/learning/challenges faced and gain advice from others who may have managed similar situations.
The final part of the meeting was focused on the hopes and aspirations of the SIG for the future. These started with the theme of multi-disciplinary team (MDT) working and involved having a nursing representative on IUGA committees, eg Education, Scientific, and Research and Development, and adopting a more MDT approach to the Regional Symposia organized by IUGA. This then developed to having a dedicated nursing session at the Annual Meetings, much like the fellows, where nursing-specific research can be encouraged and supported and potentially a research network can be established. It is also hoped that the SIG can link in with the Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation SIG to share learning, expertise and research. The ultimate hope is for the creation of a dedicated Urogynecology nurse specialist training program, supported by experts from the wider MDT and the IUGA Academy, which would be the first of its kind and a valuable resource for all nurses caring for women with urogynecological conditions.
In order to ensure that the aims of the SIG are achieved, we would like to encourage all nurses to get in touch if they have ideas as to how to reach out to other midwives and nurses and if they would like to be involved in the development of the educational content for the IUGA Academy. We recognize that it will take time to establish the SIG and that some of these aims and objectives may change along the way, but the first steps have now been made and we hope that the SIG will help to encourage midwife and nurse membership and participation in the association and enhance multidisciplinary working for women.