The 28th Urology Congress under the auspices of the Nordic countries was held from August 24 to 27 this year in Tampere, Finland. Around 60 nurses coming from the different Nordic countries gathered during the four-day event. This year the Finnish committee has created a very interesting and highly relevant programme which focused on current trends in nursing education in Scandinavia.
Ms. Maria Pekki, president of the Finnish Association of Urological Nurses, and Ms. Elisabeth Bonns, chairperson of the Finnish Committee, warmly welcomed all congress participants. For the EAUN participants the programme's content couldn't have come at a more opportune time since the EAUN is currently in the midst of establishing the European School of Urology Nursing (ESUN).
Representatives from the various Nordic countries reported on the actual situation in their respective countries, including issues such as what they can offer to urology nursing in terms of education and future strategies. Other points discussed were the specific institutions offering specifi c urological courses in Scandinavia, how the education is linked to the university and the ways to acquiring a university degree. To highlight, an interesting presentation was given by Karin Stenzelius from Sweden who reported on the activities at the University in Lund. The Lund concept offers online courses in incontinence care, nursing care for bowel problems, cystoscopy and non-invasive bladder cancer care, aside from general concepts in urological nursing. Lund trains around 30 nurses every year through its online education programme which also includes two boarding’s a year.
With their online programme, there seems to be no geographic boundaries and Lund has boosted its online activities by offering the opportunity to have the very best teachers. Moreover, a crucial element in their success is the complete awareness of thestudents that they themselves are responsible for the success of their own education. Despite the 'virtual' character of the online education there is obviously regular contact and reminders from the university and the faculty in case the students are lagging behind or are neglectful of their responsibilities, but basically they are on their own in terms of following the online programme!
Valuable lessons The (online) education seems to be very highly appreciated in Sweden's urological care community and is recognised as a very important boost to urological nursing training and education. Among others, the reasons for this recognition can be attributed to the clinical relevance of the course contents, the suitability and quality of assignments and the use of case methodology which make or contribute to the practicality of the learning outcomes.
Clearly, this valuable experience provides important lessons for all educational stakeholders in the urological nursing community who are considering this type of approach or strategy in the future. Furthermore, long-distance learning strategies sharply reduce travel expenses and days-off from ward duty. The approach also makes education more accessible and opens up the possibility of a more enhanced educational quality in Swedish urology nursing.
Nordic nurses are working hard to enhance their education and training not only on the educational level but also in research. This was reflected with the quality and depth of the eight oral and poster presentations at the congress. It is a great pleasure to see the gradual development of the research competencies in the Nordic countries, as seen during the last three congresses in Århus in 2007 and in Reykjavik in 2009.
Although the Nordic community in terms of numbers is not that big it has gained certain outstanding advantages with regards to closer networking and holding fruitful discussions. Our countries have almost similar national health care systems which make it possible to combine and share experiences concerning clinical practice, education and research results.
This most recent Nordic meeting has indeed inspired and encouraged us to improve and boost the preparatory work for a European School of Urology Nursing. Indeed, we look forward with enthusiasm to the next Nordic meeting in 2013!
Bente Thoft JensenVice-chairEAUN BoardArhus (DK)
Article from European Urology Today, volume 23, No. 5