The world has changed over the last eighteen months.The global pandemic hit us hard and suddenly affected each and every one of us. Many health professionals were redeployed to assist in controlling the pandemic, often far away from their ‘comfort zones’. They had to work in hastily formed teams to deliver the best care they could under such challenging and diverse circumstances. Many of us fell ill ourselves and sadly some much-valued colleagues or family members died. We had to learn to adapt to a different way of thinking and doing things, both in our everyday lives and in our professional lives and practices. The pandemic has influenced us to adapt to challenges most of us never thought we would experience in our career or lifetime. And the determination and resilience of colleagues, trainees and volunteers was humbling.
COVID-19 encouraged reviewing educational activities and communication platforms
Consider the changes
But at some point, we also need to find time to pause and reflect on the last eighteen months. To consider the changes we have all experienced in our work and how we all managed to become a more cohesive group of professionals, which goes well above and beyond our own expectations. As we move on, we need to try and use our newly found skills and empowerment to develop more innovative ways of caring for our patients and our work force, in urology. During this period of time, as urology health care professionals, we still had urology patients to manage in the COVID-period, especially newly diagnosed cancer patients or patients that were waiting for organ-saving surgery due to renal stones and sepsis. We all learnt how to manage these patients differently, and hopefully in some cases more efficiently, during COVID-19. Sometimes COVID-19 even helped streamline services, making them more efficient and patient-centred (as discussed in the EAUN bladder cancer webinar of which the recording is available on the EAUN website at https://nurses. uroweb.org/nurses/education-2/webinars/).
The pandemic also allowed us to focus on aspects that seemed less urgent before, in the frantic pace of the 21st century. We have re-learnt how important it is to spend time with our friends, families and colleagues regularly. And how important it is to share different experiences and practices with the entire world, using different IT platforms to support each other. These advances have allowed us all to keep in touch with people, to ‘check in’ and ensure people are safe and being looked after to the best of our ability under difficult circumstances.
Change our strategy
No one could anticipate how long this would last but the EAUN board acknowledged that, because of travel restrictions and different countries experiencing different pressures, we needed to change our strategy and reach out to you, support our members better and support members globally. The EAUN Board has been busy working behind the scenes to restructure the responsibilities of our board members and refresh our long-term strategy plan. Our overall aim is to continue supporting you all in your educational needs, updating everyone on new evidence-based practice, and to support each other better, using a wider range of social media platforms.
Restructuring and refreshing
A key area in which the EAUN restructured is education. This core responsibility ensures the EAUN continues to support its members in providing educational programmes, sharing practices, encouraging a conduit of communication to our members and standardising care across Europe and globally. The aim is to ensure that we can continue to deliver to our members, even during challenging times. The EAUN has approximately 3,000 members worldwide and The Philippines Urology Nursing Society recently signed up to join the EAUN, allowing the association to reach urology teams and patients far beyond Europe.
The education group has designed a plan to ensure that a state-of-the-art educational programme is delivered to our members regularly. In 2021 we have already delivered 2 webinars and plan to continue delivering these at least every quarter. Visit the EAUN webpage to view recordings and find out which webinars are scheduled at www.eaun.org/nurses/education-2/webinars/. Using webinars as a new way of educating and sharing best practices allowed twenty-four different countries to access valuable up-to-date knowledge and support. The webinars are based on the requests and feedback from previous questionnaires sent to EAUN members. The first session was titled Managing bladder cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic and the March webinar focused on prostate cancer – the feedback has been excellent! We are aiming at running two ESUN courses. If the COVID-19 restictions are still in place, these will be virtual but with the same key principle: to give you tools to advance your knowledge and improve your practice in your workplace.
We have also launched a new course to improve patient care, our online Pigtail Nephrostomy Course. This e-course consists of the following modules: Background, The pigtail nephrostomy catheter, Placement of the catheter, How and when to change the catheter and Flushing, cleansing and dressing of the catheter. The 1-hour e-learning programme primarily shows and explains how to take care of a pigtail nephrostomy catheter. The course is available for EAUN members on our website: https://nurses.uroweb.org/nurses/education-2/e-courses/nephrostomy-catheter-e-course/
Special Interest Groups (SIGs)
Despite the extreme pressures of COVID-19, the SIGs still managed to deliver their webinars. Without their support we would not be able to deliver such amazing state-of-the-art educational programmes, which include webinars and ESUN courses, which are all accredited now. So a massive thank you to them for their continuing support to the EAUN. If anyone is interested in joining a SIG group, please contact the Chair of the group. More details can be found at www.eaun.org/about-eaun/special-interestgroups-sigs/.