Med App visits the National Nursing Forum….incredible!

August 22, 2022

Tom Collins

Tom Collins is a Director at MedApps as well as a healthcare nerd and marathon candidate

Last week the Med App team ventured to Darwin to attend the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) National Nursing Forum (NNF). Our clinicians were able to get around to some great talks to hear about what has been happening in the profession, make some great new friends and have a truck load of fun. 

While we weren’t able to attend every presentation, we’ve provided a summary of the presentations we were able to get to, along with some insights from some our discussions over the 3 days of the forum. 

Day 1

Day 1 kicked off with a big bang! Thanks to Kylie Ward, ACN CEO and keynote speaker.


  • Pain, power & politics – the experiences of the nursing profession during challenging times
  • Nurse wellbeing as a significant current concern
  • Ensuring nursing has a voice at the table – nurses not equally represented on boards and decision making
  • Fairness, justice, equality and equity for nurses

Wellbeing, burnout and supporting our clinicians was a hot topic – so much so, there was standing room only. Elizabeth Black from St Vincent’s Health Network Sydney spoke about Essential Learning – Shifting paradigms, enhancing workplace culture and change


  • Multiple barriers exist to the completion of “mandatory training”
  • Avoiding the use of the word “mandatory” – often seen as a negative. Consider positive terminology such as “essential training”
NNF Wellbeing Forum
Becky Clarke & Fiona Fitzgerald discuss Burnout and Wellbeing

Rebecca Clarke, ADON N&M Excellence & Research Tasmanian Health Service & Fiona Fitzgerald, Health Round Table / Beamtree speaking about addressing key questions to improving Nurse & Midwives’ wellbeing. The Wellbeing Index by Mayo is a validated tool to provide measurable data to benchmark and measure your organisations level of burnout. 


  • Important to identify the types of distress staff are experiencing – moral distress vs burnout vs compassion fatigue
  • Burnout is a significant Quality & Safety issue for organisations

While the pandemic has changed some things, participating in face to face training is still the preferred medium. Dr Karen Davies, CNC Safe Medication Practice, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital spoke about the Australia and New Zealand Medication Practice Survey.


  • Survey of Health Round Table sites to understand medication assessments and guideline adherence
  • 78% of medication assessments are done on commencements to an organisation
  • Face to Face training is the preferred option of participants
  • Many tools are not validated, but 65% of sites would be willing to use a validated tool


Day 2 took us further into wellbeing and burnout of Nurses. Dr Ylona Chun Tie & Dr Caroline Brown – Global perspectives on COVID-19 workforce well-being strategies – these included: 

  • Globally there have been well-being strategies implemented to help nurses cope with the covid pandemic
  • Managers need to fill their own wellbeing cup as well as staff
  • Some key leadership traits that support workplace wellbeing include authenticity, honesty and empathy. 

Dr Karen Davies – Medication Administration Evaluation and Feedback Tool: Stepped Wedge Cluster Randomised Trial


  • Medication errors on of the top 6 national health acquired complication
  • Nurses do not routinely have medication administration skills, competence and knowledge regularly assessed
  • Medication Administration Evaluation and Feedback Tool (MAEFT) study demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in practice for clinicians using the tool

A really interesting presentation from Megan Wise, Nurse Educator on supporting graduate performance: Evidence of what works found that: 

  • Many tools are used to monitor grad progress, but mostly self-appraisal with limited reporting on the use of these tools
  • A quantitative study of grad performance using ANSAT tool to measure graduate capability @ Princess Alexandra Hospital – a known valid, reliable tool
  • Statistically significant increase from 1 – 3 months with using the tool
  • Benefits for grads include identification of learning needs, opportunity to review and appraise performance, and professional career development 

At Med App we’ve moved from supporting interns in their personal and career development aspirations to supporting student and graduate Nurses and Midwives. 

The presentation from Saz Newbery from AHPRA (Australia Health Practitioner Regulation Agency) outlined the progress on the national assessment tool for pre-registration Nurses.

Some interesting stats included: 

  • There are around 90,000 student nurses and midwives around the country 
  • There can be big gaps between study and practice – ‘are we work ready or work safe?’ 
  • There is a decent amount of variation in how Students and Graduates are evaluated through university and at each facility.
  • Where appropriate, local support, coaching and compassion is needed in the early days of an individuals career (arguably throughout) VS getting written up for early mistakes – the ultimate goal to support retention of the workforce. 

You can read the detailed report here. In the interim, enhancing graduate transition programs and supporting established nurses and midwives to be exceptions managers, educators and mentors is critical. 

Public consultation will be available shortly, be sure you get  out and contribute to public consultations coming soon.

Congratulations to the Murrumbidgee Local Health District Nursing Team who were the successful winners of the Med App door prize! Made extra special with the announcement of an engagement in the team. Congratulations on all the hard work being done across the LHD and best wishes to the happy couple!

NNF Wellbeing Forum
Winners are Grinners – MLHD team take home the goodies!

Most of all we are grateful to have spent some time with our Nursing colleagues from across the country. A big thank you to all the frontline Nurses & midwives who have worked extremely hard through the pandemic and continue to work tirelessly in tough conditions. 

Make sure you sign up for the next forum – it’s being held in Adelaide. 

If you would like to get more information from the Med App team on the conference, please book in a time here. Without a doubt, we’ll be heading back next year!


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