As a founding member of OHNNG I was very honoured to have been elected to the role of President of the group at the 2017 conference AGM. I can still recall the enthusiastic little group who headed off to the now demolished nurse’s quarters ground floor meeting room to chat about our idea of starting a special interest group. Many things were initiated in 1996 that stand today. At that meeting I volunteered to be the treasure and went about opening a bank account and collecting money. It wasn’t long before I tired of writing otolaryngology head and neck nurses group long hand and got a stamp made with some urgency. The receipt book and some initial records remain at my house today.
I am incredibly humbled and astounded at how the group has evolved over the years, although it really doesn’t seem that long in my mind. We are exceptionally fortunate to have had three magnificent leaders, Diane Clancy, Julie Waine and Tracey Nicholls, all who realised substantial achievements to make the group what it is today. I take on this role, well aware that I have big shoes to fill.
My primary focus in this first year as President was to improve the ease and process of membership and renewal and to formalize the data base. This goal has been achieved although both analogue and digital versions of the data base exist. We are probably still six months away from dismissing (but not destroying) the analogue versions. The digital records will slowly be updated with longevity of membership which will be a slow data entry task but will get done. The software now imbedded in our website includes membership renewal notices which is imperative for us all in our busy lifestyles. Another goal was to improve the communication within the group. From the executive to the state coordinators and from the management team (executive and state coordinators) to the members.
This too has been achieved to a limited degree but will improve. The E Link newsletters are an effective way of letting members know about the latest OHNNG events and news. The E Link reverted to our traditional newsletter name of Scope and is now labeled SCOPE - Link. These communications are not limited by the calendar but rather by the content. They are small by design so as not to be “too much” to read although they will offer links to more content for members to peruse in their own time.
The third task I set myself was to formalise the branding of the group. We had several logo files, no uniformity of colour and little formal branding other than the logo. I commissioned a variety of business documents, including logo design, letter head, note paper and power point templates. My aim was to establish uniformity and ease of recognition and to make transition of work through the executive and state coordinators standardized. A relatively small financial investment which I expect will last for many years to come.
Also on my list for the year was to run an education day in Darwin now that we had a “state” coordinator up there. Kellyanne Coyle joined the team at the 2017 AGM and was receptive to hosting such an event. The study day was held at the Royal Darwin Hospital and was well attended. Kellyanne did a great job and the ENT surgical and nursing teams were very welcoming and willingly participated in the event. Interested nurses from Alice Springs “remoted” in which increased our educational reach and was a great way of including nurses who have little access to specialty specific educational opportunities.
I also intended to host an educational event in Perth prior to this conference. We did not have representation in Perth and I thought it was imperative to ‘get our name’ out there. That event took place on October 28th and 50 nurses attended. The presenters were generous with their time and knowledge and provided the audience with excellent content. That trip also afforded me the opportunity to meet with the venue coordinator at the Crown Perth Convention Centre, so I had some idea about the rooms being offered to us for this conference.
I feel satisfied that I have achieved some small steps in a positive direction for this group for which I am so passionate. The personal time I have invested has been huge however no change comes without effort and I am quite determined to nurture this group into a formidable and substantial nursing organisation focused on improving nursing care for ENT Head and Neck patients. My greatest desire is for the members to be glad they joined and encourage their colleagues – who care for these patients to do the same. I believe our website is the ‘face’ of our group and our primary point of contact and this is where I will focus some of my attention this coming year.
The website will have an overhaul, will be dynamic and appealing. More educational content of a variety of formats will be loaded and members will be encouraged to improve their knowledge via links, events on offer and podcasts/articles.
I plan to target NSW and particularly Victoria this year. We must have some representation in Victoria as there are a plethora of ENT Head and Neck work done across multiple facilities. I suggest they have just as much (if not more) to offer us as we have to offer them. Similarly, in NSW, our presence is quite humble – I believe this can improve markedly.
It is imperative that, as a group, we engage in community awareness of head and neck cancer, prevention, risk factors and early detection. World Head and Neck Cancer day will be a focus for our group as a whole and members will be encouraged to host a variety of events in their workplaces. Something as humble as a poster has the potential to teach someone something they weren’t previously aware of. The incentive of a cupcake – even more likely to draw attention. These events are fun, team building and if they impact just one person – are well worthwhile. I look forward to the next 12 months and anticipate some wins and some failures. Regardless, my pledge to you is that I will keep trying.
|1996||Gold Coast - 54 delegates|
|1997||Sydney 120 - delegates|
|1998||Sydney 125 - delegates|
|1999||Canberra 60 - delegates|
|2000||Melbourne 91 - delegates|
|2001||Adelaide 60 - delegates|
|2002||Perth 90 - delegates|
|2003||Brisbane 70 - delegates|
|2004||Sydney 65 - delegates|
|2005||No National - (IRS Sydney)|
|2006||Melbourne - 91 delegates|
|2007||Adelaide - 82 delegates|
|2008||Perth - 56 delegates|
|2009||Gold Coast - 73 delegates|
|2010||Sydney - 88 delegates|
|2011||Melbourne - 115 delegates|
|2012||Adelaide - 95 delegates|
|2013||Perth - 105 delegates|
|2014||Brisbane - 150 delegates|
|2015||Sydney - 98 delegates|
|2016||Melbourne - 167 delegate|
|2017||Adelaide - 138 delegates|