Posted on November 15, 2015

More than 200 nursing and midwifery leaders from across Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) gathered earlier this month for two master class sessions led by international nursing experts from Australia and New Zealand. “Midwives and maternal nurses have a professional responsibility as advocates for women with mental illness. They are an important resource for women, their families and their babies during pregnancy, birth and postpartum,” said Professor Wendy Cross, Head of School, Monash University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Professor Cross led a master class session entitled ‘The Mental Health of Women in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Program of Research’ which detailed research conducted in Australia between 2004 and 2015. The research found that many clinicians lacked the knowledge and confidence to assess perinatal women’s mental health and to manage the care of women who are pregnant, or planning to be pregnant, while taking antipsychotic medication.

“Women with mental health problems have the same desire as other women to have a baby but often encounter a lack of support from clinicians,” added Professor Cross. The master class was part of the semiannual meeting of the International Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Board (INMAB) and consolidated the Corporate Nursing and Midwifery Department’s continued efforts to support nursing and midwifery leaders in improving patient outcomes.

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Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby, Chief Nursing Officer at HMC, said “Master classes are part of a suite of ongoing professional development opportunities offered to help nurses and midwives meet the challenges of the evolving healthcare environment. The sessions provide a platform for international experts to engage with our nursing and midwifery leaders on the latest developments, research and best practices.” The INMAB, formed earlier this year, provides local and international perspective and offers strategic, professional and managerial advice on all aspects of nursing and midwifery care at HMC.

Dr. Nabila Al-Meer, INMAB Board Member and Deputy Chief, Continuing Care Group, Supreme Council of Health Nursing Affairs and Chairperson of the Credentialing Committee at HMC, said the Board is an important resource for international best practice on topical issues such as nursing education, licensure and practice requirements. “Professional standards specific to generalist, specialist and advanced practice nursing are in place to ensure nurses and midwives work within their scope of practice to support the health of Qatar's population," said Dr. Al-Meer.

However, she added that “Internationally there is no common understanding of what constitutes specialization but a nursing and midwifery expert reference group with representatives from HMC, the Primary Health Care Corporation and Sidra Medical and Research Center is working collaboratively with the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners to set up standards for nursing and midwifery and to establish a framework to ensure compliance.”

Professor Annette Huntington, Professor and Head of School, School of Nursing at New Zealand’s Massey University led the second master class and delivered a presentation on influencing professional regulation of nurses and midwives, drawing on lessons learned from the New Zealand experience.