SIT Nurse Educators Present at International Conference
Publish Date: Wednesday, 1 March 2023
SIT Nurse Educators Present at International Conference
SIT Head of School of Nursing and Acting Head of Faculty, Johanna Rhodes, and SIT Nurse Educator, Mary McMillian, experienced a career highlight when presenting contemporary teaching methods at the 8th International Nurse Educators conference in Sitges, Spain.
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They say good things come to those who wait, and for two Nurse Educators from the Southern Institute of Technology – Business Division of Te Pūkenga, there was a well-deserved happy ending to a two-year delay when they presented at the 8th International Nurse Educators Conference in Sitges, Spain.

The conference, which was held in late 2022, is designed to encourage the worldwide sharing of knowledge and experience of nursing, midwifery, and healthcare education. There was a distinctly Kiwi flavour with Johanna Rhodes, SIT Head of School of Nursing and Acting Head of Faculty, and Mary McMillian, SIT Nurse Educator, both presenting on contemporary health education topics. The diverse gathering of around 800 attendees saw representatives from across the globe: African and Arabic nations, through to Scandinavian and other western nations. “... it was quite amazing – there were so many people it was almost overwhelming,” Ms McMillian said.

She described the long road getting to Sitges; two years previously, they submitted several abstracts which were accepted for the April 2020 conference. However, within weeks they were in lockdown, and the conference was postponed until 2022. They were invited to re-submit their abstracts at the end of 2021.  “Between us we submitted nine abstracts, hoping we’d get one each accepted,” but to their surprise, “They accepted all nine!” said Ms McMillian.

Ms Rhodes is currently completing a PhD: The impact for educators who assume simulated patient roles, which investigates the experiences of educators who assume simulated patient roles. She informed the conference with two oral presentations. The first presentation provided an overview of her PhD research, Educators assuming simulated patient roles: A constructivist grounded theory study. “It was humbling when people came up to me afterwards, expressing they could relate to the constructed theory,” Ms Rhodes said. She added it also triggered multiple conversations regarding potential next steps with the findings from the research. The second presentation, Can you escape? Educational escape rooms on campus and virtually to promote learning through teamwork and problem-solving, offered an opportunity for delegates to participate in a mini escape room. Ms Rhodes said this research has led to the sharing of resources internationally and future collaborative research opportunities.

She also had two posters with mini-oral presentations accepted. The first, titled, Claiming a space to stop, think, converse, and share in academia using deck chairs: A one-act ethnodrama. This research focuses on educators taking time to stop, with the novel approach and visual cues of having deck chairs and a stop sign on campus. The final poster, The challenge: Simulation with large cohorts: A Solution: Pause, Consider, and Decide, explained a simulation method to help accommodate large groups. Ms Rhodes said the concept is based on “pick-a-path” books and invites the audience to pick what happens next. During the presentation this occurred, resulting in generous discussion and other institutions asking to use the concept.

Ms McMillian’s presentations were on the Interprofessional education of Health Professional Students and the Health Educators who work with those students. Interprofessional education is the bringing together of health professional students, such as nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, etc. to learn together in their professional training with the object of cultivating collaborative practice for providing patient-centred health care.

Her posters on the topic drew much interest, they highlighted her research regarding the Southland Interprofessional Education Programme. As well as engaging the audience visually, she had the opportunity to explain the IPE programme, from taking an idea, then its creation, to now being an established local, national, and international programme.

Ms McMillian noted their material was very warmly received, in particular, Ms Rhodes’ presenting techniques were incredibly well regarded. She had a wonderful response to her ‘Escape Room’ presentation which used jigsaw puzzle pieces to engage audience participation. They were both lauded for their use and acknowledgement of Te Reo and tangata whenua. 

Ms McMillian said due to the changing face of education at present, they thought they wouldn’t be going to the conference. “ ... we were incredibly humbled and privileged we were able to attend. “For us, it was a highlight of our nurse educator careers, it blew us away ... we felt grateful to SIT and SIT - Te Pūkenga research teams for supporting us and allowing us to represent SIT.”

Ms Rhodes added being able to present at the conference has resulted in new international collaborations, enabling further advancement of their respective research interests.