Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

First -time mothers need more support in caring for their new baby

22 February 2006

First-time mothers are not provided with sufficient information and skills on how to cope with their new-borns causing them to experience heightened fear, anxiety and apprehension according to a new study.


Pictured (L-R) Ms Mary O’Neill, Lecturer in the Faculty of Nursing, RCSI ; Professor Seamus Cowman, Professor of Nursing at RCSI and Head of Department at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery; Ms Geralyn Hynes, Lecturer in Nursing, RCSI; Ms Margaret Fitch, who delivered the keynote address entitled “Making it Real; Making it Work; Research Based Nursing Practice”; Ms Anita Duffy, Mr Stephen Pitman, Ms Zena Moore and Ms Catherine Clune, who are all Lecturers in Nursing at RCSI.


Pictured from left to right at the 25th International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference are Mrs. Mary O'Rourke, Cork; Prof. Seamus Cowman, Professor of Nursing at RCSI and Head of Department at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery; Mrs. Nanette Cowman, Wife of Professor Cowman; Mr. Martin O'Rourke Managing Director BUPA Ireland and Ms. Ann Broekhovan, BUPA Ireland


Pictured from left to right at the 25th Annual Nursing Conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) are Ms. Mary McCarthy, Department of Health and Children; Ms. Eileen Maher, Dean of Faculty of Nursing, RCSI; Ms. Anne Carrigy, President of An Bord Altranais & Director of Nursing in the Mater Hospital Dublin and Ms Noreen Keane, Mater Hospital, Dublin.

The research which recommends the roll out of a 24-hour helpline was presented at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)’s 25th International Nursing and Midwifery Research Conference which ran from Wednesday 22nd to Friday 24th February 2006.

Lead researcher Katheryn Muldoon from the Coombe Women’s Hospital recommended that a 24 hour helpline be established where first-time mothers could contact health professionals within the hospital with any difficulties that may arise.

According to the study, the transition to motherhood for the women was a traumatic experience. This was more pronounced in the early days after discharge from hospital. The reality of caring for a new baby proved difficult and women who were bottle feeding appeared to have the most difficulty. This is compounded by the fact that mothers today spend a shorter time in hospital and usually receive only one home visit by the public health nurse following the birth.

Examples of the findings from some of the many other papers and posters that were presented at the conference include:

Lesbian Women Seek Medical Help Less Due to Negative Attitudes by Health Care Professionals

This paper, “Diversity in Health Care: A Review of Lesbian Women’s Health Care” was presented by Mel Duffy, School of Nursing in DCU. It examines the experiences of lesbian women in both a primary and health care setting and how lesbian women attend health care providers less than heterosexuals due to health care professional’s judgemental and negative attitudes toward them. The presentation, which is literature based, will focus on the provision of health care to lesbian women and whether they should disclose their sexual orientation in a health care encounter and provider’s attitudes towards providing health care to lesbian women.

Survey Reveals that only 59% of Nurses are Satisfied with their Jobs
This study, “Job Satisfaction: A Survey of Nurses in the Republic of Ireland” revealed a low to moderate satisfaction rate among nurses. Of the 2000 nurses surveyed for this study only 59% were satisfied with their jobs. The findings also confirmed that factors such as professional status, interaction, and autonomy made the greatest contribution to nurses’ job satisfaction. The implications of these findings are that health service administrators and nursing managers will need to design and implement initiatives that will promote professional status, interaction and autonomy among nurses within their organisations.

The theme of this year’s conference, whose main sponsor is BUPA Ireland, was titled “Beyond Rhetoric: Nursing Knowledge and Research for a new Healthcare System.” The Conference is now one of the oldest of its type in Europe. Seamus Cowman, Professor of Nursing at RCSI and Head of Department at the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery delivered a speech entitled “1980-2005: Learning from 25 years of Faculty Conference Proceedings.” Other speakers at the event included Alice Leahy, Director and Co-Founder of TRUST and Margaret Finch, who delivered the keynote address entitled “Making it Real; Making it Work; Research Based Nursing Practice.”

The RCSI Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery was established on 30th October 1974. As one of the earliest and longest serving providers of nurse education in Ireland, the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery has ensured wide ranging and relevant programmes of education for nurses from a variety of clinical nursing specialities.