Major Events in 2019-2020 that have affected the Perioperative Nurses College of New Zealand (NZNO)
Mosque Shootings in Christchurch March 2019
For the perioperative community in New Zealand, 2019 had an awful start. Our little country experienced its first (and hopefully last) mass shooting terrorist event. We were appalled that fellow New Zealanders attending peaceful prayers could be targeted and murdered in the midst of our normally peaceful country, 51 people died and 49 people were injured. Our perioperative teams in Christchurch had experienced trauma previously with the 2011 earthquakes-but nothing like this deliberate act of terror. As usual, the teams rose to the occasion and expertly managed and cared for these victims as best they could. New Zealand in not used to managing gun shot wounds in the perioperative environment; team-work and professional cooperation came to the fore with nurses, doctors and technicians volunteering their support for their Christchurch colleagues.
Conference Hamilton, October 2019
Hamilton hosted our National Conference in 2019. The local team gathered local and national experts to share perioperative learnings, scenarios and innovations with the wider membership.
This was also an opportunity for our Christchurch colleagues to share their reflections and experiences of the Mosque Shootings with us. The take away experience of this conference for me, was the value nursing input has for patients undergoing any intervention, procedure or surgical pathway
Whakaari/White Island Eruption, December 2019
The eruption on Whakaari on December 2019 was another disaster for New Zealand. Once again, our small nation (with limited resources) had an event that would require all our health services to pull out all the stops. 21 people died and 26 patients were seriously injured-most with massive chemical burns and traumatic injuries. The local hospital did not have a burns unit and managed the initial triage/treatment before victims were flown across the country to one of our four regional burns units. Eventually some of these patients were flown to Australia for care as well.
Perioperative teams spent the next few months caring for these patients with multiple debridement and revisional surgeries. Our last Whakaari patient was discharged from Hospital in April 2020-straight into COVID-19 Lockdown.
COVID-19, January 2020….
New Zealand adopted a rapid 4 Level approach to managing the threat of COVID-19. At Level 4 we went into complete Lockdown with strict guidelines around essential travel, social distancing, and health care access. Those that could, worked from home, schools closed and all non-essential services such as cafes and retail outlets closed. All non-urgent, elective surgery was cancelled in preparation for a potential influx of COVID patients to our hospitals. In June, we are lucky enough to now have been COVID free for 24 days. We came out of Level 4 lockdown after just over a month, we have gradually moved to Level 1-which has no restrictions apart from on our borders. Perioperative teams spent the time in Level 4 preparing to care for and manage COVID-19 patients. We were lucky enough in New Zealand to not have the expected influx that the rest of the world experienced. Our focus now, will be on preparing for future pandemics and in managing the backlog of postponed elective cases
Normal Activities carry on throughout 2019
Our College has strived to carry on with our normal activities this year. Unfortunately, we had to postpone our annual conference due to COVID-19-but plan to have this in 2021. We continue to look at topics such as the Registered Nurse Assistant to the Anaesthetist; safe sedation and a healthy, flexible perioperative workforce. The challenges we face include member involvement and contribution at regional and national levels-we welcome suggestions and advice from our international colleagues on how to tackle this!
We wish all our international colleagues a healthier and less challenging 2021.
Periopertive Nurses College of New Zealand (NZNO)
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