Acorn 2012 Darwin NT- Fifteenth National Conference

By John Connole
Sunday, 11 November, 2012



ACORN’s (Australian College of Operating Room Nurses) Vision is to develop the SPIRIT of perioperative nursing in Australia by standards utilising evidence based practice, professional growth and development, innovation to achieve best patient care outcomes, representation of all States and Territories, influencing health policy and developing teamwork locally, nationally and internationally.


ACORN values reflect the organisation’s commitment to excellence in perioperative nursing, operating in a professional and business-like manner, maintaining ethical behaviour, encouraging partners in industry and welcoming the opportunity to work with others including university, public and private organisations, assisting perioperative nurses to develop their potential and to health organisations in delivering service to patients.


The objectives of ACORN are to cultivate and maintain the highest principles of perioperative nursing. They do this by disseminating information to members on issues of significance, providing and facilitating professional development, identifying and examining issues and relevant problems, advising Commonwealth and State Governments and other authorities on perioperative nursing and related health issues, acting as a resource at National and State levels by fulfilling an advisory role and providing a consultative service, initiating research to seek solutions to those issues and problems, taking action on problems and issues of significance and promoting growth in the organisation.


This year the ACORN 2012 Fifteenth National Conference will be held from Wednesday 23 – Saturday 26 May at the Darwin Convention Centre in the Northern Territory, around which revolves the conference theme, Territorial Boundaries: Dare to be Diverse.


Within the Health Care System there are many boundaries. These may be boundaries defined by a State or Territory’s borders and requires perioperative practitioners to abide by State and Territory regulations. In Australia, Perioperative Nurses may be required to care for patients who come from outside our country boundaries as refugees seek a new life in this wonderful country. There may also be professional boundaries placed there by tradition and serve to maintain the status quo or the territory bound by the profession. Territorial Boundaries may be described as the tyranny of distance, which often provides barriers, and challenges to cost effective and responsive patient care services.


The Fifteenth National Conference is an opportunity for Nurses around Australia to share their experiences with the boundaries they have met. The ACORN Conference committee have worked hard to put together a diverse, educational and thought provoking conference program for you to digest and dare to be diverse when choosing from the streams you are have the opportunity to attend. The subjects chosen should help to enhance your knowledge base and give you further insight into what is happening across Australia in regards to perioperative practice.


Some of the conference highlights will be the range of presenters that will be speaking throughout the event, for instance the Opening Keynote, Brennon Dowrick who is one of Australia’s most successful gymnasts. He has represented Australia at two Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games and seven World Championships. Brennon was Australia’s first ever gymnastics Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist in 1990, a feat he repeated in 1994. He also was Australia’s first Olympic Games finalist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.


Graeme Bowman, another keynote presenter is a Lateral Thinking Trainer accredited by the De Bono Institute. Graeme speaks about a wide range of topics from humorous to Inspirational and Creative, there is never a dull moment.


CEO for Empowering Enterprises and also a State Winner for the 2009 Young Australian of the Year; Sam Cawthorn is the conference Closing Keynote speaker. In October 2006 Sam’s life changed forever when he was involved in a major car accident, where he was pronounced dead. He was thankfully resuscitated, but left with an amputated right arm and a permanent disability in his right leg. A year later he defied all odds taking his first steps into a new life, where his story would continue to inspire. Sam walks his talk, and it is through his experience that his authentic message will contribute to an uplifting conclusion to the conference.


Several companies are also sponsoring pre conference workshops to which they have invited there own speakers. Big Green Surgical is bringing Kay Ball, Past President, AORN Associate Professor, Nursing Otterbein University, Westerville, OH, USA. Kay is a nurse educator and consultant who served as chairwoman of ACORN’s Smoke Evacuation Task Force from 2007 to 2009. Kay is the author of Lasers: The Perioperative Challenge along with many chapters and articles on surgical and nursing issues.


Mindworks is sponsoring Laurie Kelly to speak. Laurie has been opening up the mysteries of the mind to audiences from all walks of life for over 20 years. He has an uncanny ability to communicate on a level that everyone can appreciate and is passionate about the importance of the information he shares.


Penny Smalley R.N., CMLSO, Course Lecturer will be presenting at the N Stenning & Co Workshop. Penny is an independent nurse consultant working in the field of laser technology and safety since 1980. She also assists the industry with clinical product Development, sales training, and a variety of related services.


ACORN is launching many new initiatives at this conference, so watch this space. Medline is also the first company to sign off on our new Platinum Sponsorship. As such, they are the first company to help ACORN realise their vision to make the conference more beneficial to staff new to the perioperative environment by launching the Master Classes within the Partners in Health and Education Precinct. The ACORN Conference will have several education areas and the master classes will provide the new opportunity to run clinical hands-on educational concurrent sessions. This will mean for the first time delegates will be able to map out a conference program which will enable them to undertake all non-plenary sessions within this area to master hands-on skills. What a fantastic opportunity and the Conference Committee is confident that these hands-on sessions will be very popular.


Our industry partners have chosen a great opportunity to educate perioperative nurses on how their products work and educate you on how they affect perioperative practice. This will be a great educational opportunity for delegates.


It is great to see that even in this precarious financial market that our industry partners are still supporting us and attending our National Conference. The Board cannot thank them enough for their support.


Conference preparations are advancing well. Multigate has worked with ACORN and is offering an Educational Grant to a member from each state and territory to attend the ACORN conference, which includes airfares, accommodation and registration. Members need to put in an abstract in regard to recycling projects and effects on the environment and their health care facilities. Going greener is a very hot topic these days and with the amount of one use items that are being utilised within our area today there is more information required on how we can recycle and help protect our environment, we hope that you get something out of these presentations and are able to use the information in your Health Care Facility.


ACORN has also joined Medline in promoting The Pink Glove Dance. This is an initiative that started in America to help raise money and awareness of breast cancer. This is a full-blown competition. If you are interested you must go to the ACORN website (www.acorn.org. au) and follow the link as you need to register your application soon. Once you have registered you have a little more time to get your video completed and submitted to Medline. The prize is $10,000 towards your nominated breast cancer charity. This is a great cause and we hope that many Australian perioperative nurses will join in and have some fun.


Branching from the inspiring location of the conference our Gala Dinner will be themed “Priscilla Queen of the Dessert” and promises to be a spectacular evening. If you can join us for our gala dinner under the stars we are sure you will have a night to remember.


We also encourage you to take time out to appreciate the Northern Territory in its entirety. Darwin is a beautiful place with many spectacular gorges, ranges and sunsets to see. We hope that you all enjoy the conference and are able to take something new away with you when you leave.


We have the challenge and the mandate to Dare to be Diverse as nurses and we seek strategies to respond to the Territorial Boundaries that affect us all in our quest to provide the best quality of services to the patients in our care!

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