A report on the 4th ESUN Course on Holistic prostate cancer care

The 4th Course of the European School of Urology Nursing on Holistic Prostate Cancer Care took place on 14-15 September 2018 in Krakow, Poland.

The organising committee received 70 applications from Europe, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, however the course can only accommodate a maximum of 30 participants. I was one of the two nurses from Australia who were selected to join the programme.

Thanks to IPSEN’s generous educational grant, the EAUN organised  my flight arrangements and overnight accommodation. Registration fee for the full course was only €100 (excl. VAT) for EAUN members and €135 (excl. VAT) for non-EAUN members.

Day One: Friday, 14 September

The first day of the programme was a gloomy, rainy day — perfect for staying indoors. Although one  can see the Vistula River from the huge windows of the conference room, the programme was far more interesting than the prospect of a cold, wet boat ride. We learned about the physiology and pathology of the prostate in the first hour. Mrs. Corinne Tillier (NL) presented the different therapies available for localised, advanced and metastatic prostate cancer.

Dr. James Green (GB) addressed various diagnostic procedures. The second hour centred on shared decision-making, the role of the nurse and how to avoid regrets in choosing a treatment. Ms. Franziska Geese (CH) superbly articulated why empowerment and knowledge are both necessary in shared decision making.

A short tea break followed, giving us a chance to stretch our legs and make new friends. After the break, we were divided into small groups to discuss genograms and its use in clinical practice. This is new to me and at that moment, I was already thinking of ways to incorporate genograms in my practice.

The last part of the afternoon involved discussion on multi-professional approach to meeting the patients’ and their partners’ needs. After the main programme, the participants were invited to partake in dinner at Szara Ges, a restaurant located right on the Main Square. The decor of the restaurant was stunning, the service wonderful and the Polish cuisine was fantastic. Bus transfer to and from the restaurant was arranged by the organising committee, making it convenient for participants to travel to the restaurant. The social programme finished late in the evening and everyone was ready to hit the sack by the time we got back to the hotel.

Day Two: Saturday, 15 September

The programme of day two began at 9 AM. There were more interactive discussions and group work on this day. Parts one and two of “Let’s talk about Sex” session had compelling topics. As moderators, Mrs. Paula Allchorne (GB) and Dr. Green did a great job in eliciting a hearty exchange of opinions amongst participants regarding sexual problems in cancer and interventions.

I enjoyed the role play performed by the delegates from Australia, Netherlands and Switzerland. One delegate portrayed the role of a patient with cancer, the other delegate was the wife of the cancer patient and the other two delegates were acting in the role of nurses providing counselling to the couple. The aim of the role play was to demonstrate effective communication among clinicians, patients and their carers to assess unmet needs and concerns.

Ms. Geese and Ms. Tillier offered inspiring suggestions regarding practice-oriented communication and dealing with challenging situations. The programme concluded at midday and lunch was provided in the main part of the hotel. Once again, delectable traditional Polish dishes were offered. Overall, the programme content and course delivery were well-designed and the hard work of the organising committee is very evident. I thank the organising committee for the opportunity to join the programme and I will forever treasure this experience. I gained not only new knowledge to share with colleagues in Australia but have also found new  friends.

What I learned from this experience is that no matter which part of the world we work in, nurses have this innate caring spirit. We all have the insatiable desire to help, to serve, to give our patients quality care. Despite the obvious differences in race, culture, and English-speaking abilities of the participants, we all share the same belief that nursing is a universal gift to all. Our passion for Urology Nursing overcomes all cultural and language barriers.

Marinelle Doctor, Clinical Nurse Consultant Urology, Nepean Hospital, Penrith (AU), marinelle.doctor@health.nsw.gov.au