What can we learn from this year’s Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) conference?

What can we learn from this year’s Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) conference?
A review of our recent conference by Emma Vincent (Pulmonary Rehabilitation & Respiratory CNS) from Leicester

I recently attended the ARNS (Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists) annual conference and I cannot tell you how enthusiastic I feel following those two days. If you take a look at their new website arns.co.uk you can get a feel for some of the incredible work that they are achieving.

The conference was a platform for the latest developments in nursing and medical care, the education was provided in various formats (forums and workshops) and it was a fantastic opportunity to network with the many different specialty types of respiratory nurses. Beyond the conference, hundred’s of nurses were tapping into the resources through the Twitter hash-tag ARNS2014; this was aided by delegates, ARNS and the Nursing Times who were all tweeting and sharing the conference summaries and sessions.

As a clinical research nurse I attended the conference with my team’s poster and presented recent work on caregiver burden and the link that that has upon patient anxiety (and vica-versa), for those living alongside chronic lung disease. You can imagine how thrilled we felt when our abstract was awarded second prize for this work. In attending conferences such as ARNS we celebrate and promote outstanding nursing projects. From my perspective as a clinical research nurse I will read an abstract of interest, look at why and how the work was done, whom it involved, what was learnt and how that changed nursing practice.

There were three very different winners at the ARNS conference, demonstrating the variety of specialism within its members. Each winner had a powerful message and an implication for change in nursing care.

The winning poster ‘A poor prognosis for the GSF prognostic indicators?’ Swift et al (2014) suggested that an almost 50% lack of predictability of Gold Standard Framework (GSF) made them only slightly better than tossing a coin, as a means of initiating sensitive discussions in relation to end of life planning, with those patients with advanced respiratory disease. An indication perhaps that nursing care cannot be led by guidelines alone and that specialist nursing experience is still vital.

Our own poster ‘Is there a connection between patient anxiety and caregiver burden for those living with, and alongside chronic lung disease (CLD)?’ Vincent et al (2014) was rewarded the second prize. We found that patient anxiety levels and caregiver burden appeared to be closely related in CLD. We suggested as a result of our work that these findings may have clinical implications when developing new health strategies; in particular for the patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) where the longer term caring needs may exceed a decade. The needs of informal, unpaid carers are no longer over looked, national organisations such as Carers UK are driving and influencing health care policy. However, more research within this area is crucial in order that we might understand the extent and nature of the need.

The third prize was awarded to Farrow et al (2014) TB Cohort Review in North West

England. This is data that provided a clinical governance framework with areas for the improvement in the management of TB, there was also evidence that the review changed clinical practice in areas. With a noted increase in TB in NW England, any data such as this is crucial in improving prevention and control of the disease.

Research priorities in practice can often be set aside for a multitude of reasons. Not only are projects notoriously difficult to get funding for, issues such as time, training and motivation can affect the outcome of any innovation. Conferences such as ARNS allow for support and a friendly platform to promote research skills and future projects. I look forward to next year’s event, there is a feeling of ‘belonging’ at ARNS, alongside enthusiasm and the willingness to share again.

Emma Vincent
Pulmonary Rehabilitation & Respiratory CNS.

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