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

Thursday 21st February - 27th International Nursing and Midwifery Conference at RCSI

21 February 2008

Conference focus on the challenges of practice development

More than 250 nurses and midwives took part in a major international conference at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) this week. The theme of the conference is the challenges facing nurses and midwives and the development of practice in a context of a changing health service. 55 speakers presented new research on topics including wound management & tissue viability, infection control, oncology & palliative care, and psychiatry/public health.

Professor Patricia Benner, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN, gave the key note address on Thursday morning and also received an honorary fellowship from RCSI.  Professor Benner is on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, and is the Director of a National Nursing Education Research Project.  She is currently working on the first national study of nursing education to be conducted in the U.S. in thirty years.

Pictured at the 27th International Nursing Conference at RCSI are Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery Ms Meave Dwyer, RCSI President Prof. Gerald O'Sullivan and Professor Patricia Benner, University of California,
San Francisco

Professor Seamus Cowman, Head of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at RCSI, noted that, “This conference provided an extraordinary opportunity for the best researchers around the world to learn from each other about how educators can better help nurses and midwives maintain and upgrade their professional skills.” On the opening day of the conference, Professor Cowman launched a new textbook, Nursing Research: Designs and Methods, which he co-authored with Professor Roger Watson, University of Sheffield, Professor Hugh McKenna, University of Ulster and Professor John Keady, University of Manchester.  

Pictured at the launch of "Nursing Research - Design and Methods are Prof. John Keady, Prof. Seamus Cowman, Prof. Patricia Benner who launched the book, Prof. Roger Watson and Prof. Hugh McKenna.

Among the presenters at the conference were:

  • Dr. Janine Stockdale:  Dr. Stockdale discussed the results of a new study of more than 100 new mothers that showed that a new programme, Designer Breastfeeding, can increase the number of mothers who breastfeed and the length of time they do so.  Dr Stockdale is currently a postdoctoral fellow working at the University of Ulster.
  • Philip James: James presented the findings of a unique study of the health concerns of drug users. Philip James has worked as a psychiatric nurse in Dublin since 1999.  He has a BSc in Nursing and an MSc in Nursing from the RCSI. 
  • Gerard White: Gerard presented his findings on factors influencing work environment and job satisfaction among emergency nurses in Ireland.  A Clinical Nurse Specialist in Minor Injuries in the Emergency Department at BeaumontHospital, Gerard White has seven years experience in the Beaumont Emergency Department. 
  • Ann Scott:  Ann Scott is Practice Development Facilitator for Mental Health in the Northern Health & Social Care Trust.  Her career has involved all aspects of mental health nursing, but her main interest is in dementia care.  She discussed improving care and quality of life in care homes. 
  • Iain McGowan:  A registered mental health nurse, Iain McGowan has seven years experience in studying suicide in Northern Ireland.  He presented his paper related to the challenges faced by midwives in assessing suicide risk among pregnant women and new mothers.


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.