STAY OPEN TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS: Dr Louise Mahler was a keynote speaker at the Culture and Compassion seminar for nurses and midwives at the Southern Cross University. Dr Mahler was teaching methods including breathing techniques.
STAY OPEN TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS: Dr Louise Mahler was a keynote speaker at the Culture and Compassion seminar for nurses and midwives at the Southern Cross University. Dr Mahler was teaching methods including breathing techniques. Cathy Adams

Lismore nursing conference stresses communication skills

CULTURE, compassion and the role of strong communication skills were the key themes at the second Nursing and Midwifery conference hosted by the Southern Cross University in Lismore yesterday.

The conference provided an opportunity for the professions to discuss current issues as well as celebrate successes, Susan Pearce chief nursing and midwifery officer, NSW Ministry of Health said.

"Nurses and midwives are in hospital all day, every day, all year, providing comfort and compassion to our patients when they need it the most," she said.

"There is lots we do technically that we do very well, but our patients tell us what is most important to them is to feel safe when they are in a very vulnerable position.

"Nurses share the best of times and the worst of times with their patients and families.

"They are in a very privileged position and we can never forget that," Ms Pearce said.

Breathing and bearing were crucial to good communication, and key components of her area of expertise known as vocal intelligence.

It was important for nurses and midwives to communicate with patients to deliver better care, but also so they could work more effectively with each other, Dr Mahler said.

Being a better communicator means you are perceived as more caring, a better leader, you get heard more and are also better understood, she said.

Compassion is part of an agenda being driven by the Ministry of Health, Annette Syme's executive director nursing and midwifery, Northern NSW Health said.

"Compassion is one of the components of all nursing and midwifery service delivery, but it is easy to get caught in the busyness of life."


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