11h CPDConference

Mackay Nurses' Conference

2 Days – Learn Locally with Ausmed

Mackay Nurses' Conference


9 - 10 Dec 2019
Rydges Mackay,
9 Gregory Street

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Why Attend

Ausmed believes it is essential that nurses living in the Mackay region have access to effective and engaging CPD on an annual basis. We look forward to receiving your support to ensure that this Local Nurses’ Conference is brought to Mackay every December. Book your place at this year’s event and:

  • Gain new knowledge for contemporary practice
  • Network, share experiences, and connect with like-minded colleagues
  • Help meet your CPD requirements
  • Enrich your professional practice and personal growth
  • Improve health outcomes specific to your local community and much, much more…
We recognise that attending a conference requires planning and the support of your organisation. See below to find out how you can gain support to attend this event.

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Day One

8:30 Registration for Day One


Welcome and Introduction

Sue de Muelenaere

Asleep or Unconscious? Assessing Neurological Deterioration

The ability to recognize subtle changes in a person’s neurological state will enable you to detect signs of deterioration early. The purpose of this session is to take you through the basics of a neurological assessment, including a simplified approach to using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). Topics covered include:

  • What does a GCS include and what does this tell you?
  • What else, other than a person’s GCS, should be assessed, e.g. limb strength?
  • What are the common signs and symptoms associated with neurological decline and what may they indicate?
  • How do you document and report changes?
10:15 Morning Tea

Sue de Muelenaere

Hot Bodies – The Importance of Recognising Early Sepsis

Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition caused by a whole-of-body inflammatory response to severe infection. The chances of survival are significantly improved if the onset is identified early. This session demonstrates the importance of early recognition and reinforces the warning signs of sepsis you must be aware of. It includes:

  • An overview of the mechanism of sepsis
  • How sepsis causes hypotension
  • The diagnostic criteria for sepsis – clear triggers that warrant attention
  • Early aggressive treatment –what it involves
Sue de Muelenaere

Fluid and Electrolyte Balance

Failure to recognise and appropriately treat fluid and electrolyte imbalances can have fatal consequences. Knowledge and understanding of the normal physiological processes are essential for accurate patient assessment. This session will refresh your knowledge and assist you in getting up to speed with the different types of fluids and their uses. Topics include:

  • What are the normal physiological processes of fluid balance?
  • What is hypovolaemic shock – how would you recognise it and what might the causes be?
  • What intravenous fluids should be used and when?
  • How to recognise electrolyte disturbances early
12:30 Lunch and Networking

Kriselle Dawson

The Judicious Use of Opioids – Implications for Nursing Practice

Opioids are a commonly prescribed medication for pain management in a range of settings, frequently as a PRN. Yet their potential for harm and misuse is ever present. It is essential that these medicines are fully understood so that they are appropriately used and nurses can confidently feel safe administering them. This session offers an in-depth review of opioid medications and includes:

  • The different types of opioids used today
  • How opioids work to alleviate pain
  • Management of opioid-induced side effects, e.g. constipation, falls etc.
  • Dosing considerations in the elderly
  • Identifying tolerance, preventing dependency, and assessing for toxicity
  • Identifying drug diversion and other inappropriate behaviours
2:45 Afternoon Tea

Kriselle Dawson

When Less is More? Recognising the Unnecessary Use of Medicines

The adverse effects of medication are a constant concern for healthcare professionals. Knowing the potential risks of a medication can significantly prevent injury or harm, such as falls. This session will look at the adverse effects of medications, the need for deprescribing, and how to prevent unnecessary harm. It includes:

  • What are some of the common adverse effects of medicines?
  • How can you reduce the risk of harm associated with medicines?
  • Why is it important to be aware of adverse effects?
4:00 Close of Day One of Conference

Day Two

9:00 Commencement of Day Two

Leonie Curran

Bringing Wounds to Light

Staying up-to-date with wound prevention and management to help reduce the impact of chronic wounds is constantly identified as a priority of care for older adults. This session will look at managing the wound by combining the latest standards with best practice. It includes:

  • What strategies can be used to prevent pressure injury?
  • How do you know it's a pressure injury?
  • Managing pressure injuries – what are the appropriate interventions? How can you select appropriate dressings?
Leonie Curran

Preventing Falls – Easy Done?

A simple thing can change an older person's life. This may be as easy as slipping or tripping over an object. In an older person, the impact of a fall is likely to be devastating and is a major cause of hospitalisation, particularly for acute care settings. This session looks at how we can prevent the cascade of serious consequences resulting from a fall from occurring in our most vulnerable group. It includes:

  • The latest evidence on falls – what causes them, what prevents them?
  • Taking the right steps to prevent a fall – the nursing role
10:45 Morning Tea

Scott Harris

The Mental Health Journey: Acute Episode to Diagnosis to, For Some, Long-Term Mental Illness

Mental illness can be complex and, at times, unpredictable. Its prevalence and level of severity depend on an individual’s past experiences, genetic makeup, access to treatment, and support and education. This session will look into acute and long-term mental illness and how they differ. Topics include:

  • How should we view recovery?
  • Why is “hope for recovery“ so important for every person living with a mental illness?
  • What is the difference between acute and long-term mental illness?
  • How prevalent is acute versus long-term mental illness?
Scott Harris

More Than Just “Stressed” – Understanding Anxiety

Often a degree of anxiety is beneficial to keep us safe and motivated. At one point or another, most of us are likely to experience some level of anxiety. However, when consumed by it, it can quickly become debilitating and life-altering. This session will review these common mental health conditions. Topics include:

  • What is stress and how is it beneficial?
  • How does anxiety differ from stress?
  • Anxiety vs anxiety disorder – what are the key differences?
  • How can we manage stress and normal anxiety?
12:45 Lunch and Networking

Sue de Muelenaere

Recognising “Red Flags” of Clinical Deterioration

There is a huge potential for patients across any clinical setting to become rapidly unwell. Recent system changes have been rolled out to encourage better management of clinical deterioration. However, your ability to recognise and respond to changes in a patient’s condition early is a high priority if an acute illness is to be averted. This session looks at:

  • What clues or changes in clinical observations may indicate a patient is becoming unwell?
  • What immediate assessment should be undertaken when you suspect a patient is deteriorating?
  • How should these changes in observations be documented?
  • When should you escalate incidents?
2:30 Afternoon Tea

Sue de Muelenaere

Shifting the pH – Acid-Base Balance

A deviation from acid-base balance homeostasis can severely affect any organ in the human body. In this interactive and practical session, you will develop a better understanding of this complex topic. It includes:

  • The importance and physiology of acid-base balance
  • Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Case studies for practice interpretation and management options
4:30 Close of Conference and Evaluations

The Goal

Need for Program

Engaging in CPD is essential for all health professionals to maintain, improve, and broaden their knowledge, skills, and practice. CPD assists health professionals to stay up-to-date with changes in clinical practice and emerging new evidence in order to enhance their patient outcomes. It is also a professional registration requirement. There is a need for formal CPD to be provided directly to regional Australian nurses, midwives, and other health professionals who may not otherwise be able to access engaging and effective continuing education.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of Ausmed’s local nurses’ conferences is to provide health professionals who work in regional Australia with current knowledge about a range of professional and clinical practice topics that will improve the provision of holistic care.

Your learning outcomes:

People with health risks will receive preventative care and education to avoid illness
Better patient outcomes will be achieved through the application of up-to-date knowledge related to specific interventions
Interprofessional collaboration will be optimised to enhance patient outcomes
Patient outcomes will be underpinned by evidence-based practice, recognised standards, and guidelines


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Kriselle Dawson

Kriselle Dawson is a consultant pharmacist who completed her degree through James Cook University in Townsville in 2003. Kriselle has been employed in community pharmacies in New South Wales, western Queensland, and for the last five years she has been based in Mackay. Kriselle has worked in both locum and permanent positions. She has experience in the provision of services and training in the aged care setting and to community groups. Kriselle is currently employed part-time by Malouf Pharmacies, and as an accredited pharmacist conducts home medication reviews in her spare time. Kriselle is passionate about health and improving the health of her community. Read More

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Sue de Muelenaere

Sue de Muelenaere is a registered nurse with more than 20 years’ experience as a nurse educator. Sue completed a five-year bachelor of nursing degree in South Africa, which included training in psychiatric and community nursing and midwifery. Since then, Sue has worked extensively in the intensive care environment, during which she has presented various courses, including an honour’s degree, a diploma in intensive care, and various short cardiac and ECG courses. Sue also holds an honour’s degree in advanced nursing science (intensive care nursing) and diplomas in nursing education and nursing administration. She was the education manager in a specialised heart hospital where she was responsible for the education of all hospital staff, including non-nursing staff members. Sue is passionate about teaching. She maintains a special interest in all aspects of nursing the critically-ill patient. Read More

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Scott Harris

Before commencing as a full-time nursing academic at CQUniversity in January 2012, Scott Harris had been employed under the Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program since its inception in 2008. Prior to this he worked in various roles within mental health both in Queensland and New South Wales. Scott remains a passionate advocate for improved mental health services and better access to care for those with mental health concerns, which he shares now with undergraduate and postgraduate students in his role as mental health nursing lecturer at CQUniversity in Mackay. In 2017, Scott presented at the STEAM international conference in Hawaii on education and student engagement. He is a recent recipient of the Student Voice Awards for both internal and distance educator of the year 2014 and was one of the recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Good Practice in Learning and Teaching, 2016. Read More

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Leonie Curran

Leonie Curran is a registered nurse and midwife with a bachelor in education (population and health), a graduate diploma in nursing (critical care), and a graduate certificate in management. Her professional background includes aeromedical, remote and refugee health, midwifery, emergency, intensive and coronary care, and nurse management. Leonie is a nurse educator with the education unit at Mackay Hospital and Health Service, holding various portfolios including pressure injury and falls prevention and management. She remains passionate about embracing a safety culture that is truly patient or client-centred. Read More


9 - 10 Dec 2019


Rydges Mackay
9 Gregory Street
Mackay QLD,4740


$610.00 (two days)
Book Online Now  

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