HighlightsThe Meeting began with a successful pre-meeting Education Day on Sunday where over 202 nurses attended from 41 countries. Experts from the field of nursing, medicine, psychology and JACIE operational management presented important nursing care issues including isolation, exercise following Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT), infections, graft failure and transfer of patients to Intensive Care Units. Click here to view the videos of the sessions.
Stem cell transplantation has moved forward over the years and we now have a greater understanding of what is a complex treatment approach. Increasing numbers of patients are undergoing transplantation and cell therapy and the nursing care that accompanies HSCT, needs to be delivered in a safe and high quality manner. This year’s main conference, with almost 500 nurses attending from 43 counties, has been focused on patient’s safety and our role as nurses in minimizing the risk of errors that can occur. The presentation ‘Do we all do it the same way?’ – included a short documentary with nurses and doctors from a variety of European transplant centers, talking about patients safety and nursing in their centre. The Key Note Speaker for the Opening Lecture was Arto Helevuo, from Finland - an airline pilot who is an expert in Risk Management, talking about the importance of safety and linking in examples from alternative perspectives. The NG Research Committee also centered on safety with the session ‘Are Our Patients Safe in Research?’.
The Nurses Group program continued with two new approaches to sessions. The first was with the ‘Made Easy’ sessions – this year focusing on ‘laboratory’, which provided the basics of Full Blood Count, Hepatic & Renal Function and the ABO System, and also the ‘Making Sense Of....’ session covering GvL effect and immunological reconstitution, HLA, and Minimal Residual Disease. These sessions were developed in order to provide a foundation for inexperienced nurses and a recap for more experienced nurses attending EBMT, and were very well received.
As in previous years, the program provided focused sessions allowing attendees to widen their knowledge base in care of donors care, pre-transplant issues, paediatric care, apheresis, infections, pre-transplant issues, disease updates and complications. Whilst this year we also had sessions covering the changing boundaries of care, eHealth, and protecting the workforce. One of the sessions this year was dedicated to the collaborative project between EBMT/ MASCC (Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer)/ ISOO (International Society of Oral Oncology) with the presentation of the position paper on basic oral care for hematology-oncology patients and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients. The traditional nurses Joint session with physicians were focused on adolescents and young adults with PID; from medical challenges to psycho-social issues related to treating this age group in the BMT setting.
The EBMT Nurses Group Distinguished Merit Award is an important feature of the Annual Meeting as this allows us to recognize and acknowledge nurses working within the field of blood and marrow transplantation who have demonstrated professionalism and advocacy for nursing. This year’s 7th Distinguished Merit Award was awarded to Caroline Bompoint, who has been active with EBMT NG since 2010 for promoting the nursing profession and particularly the role of transplant coordinator and for successfully setting up the French National EBMT Nurses Group.
The prize for best oral presentation was awarded to Hilda Rip-Mekelenkamp and colleagues from the Netherlands, for their presentation on “Parental experiences and perspectives of end-of-life decision-making in allogeneic paediatric stem cell transplant”. The effort made by the whole team to manage this difficult emotional subject with good research project design would help nurses to give more insight in the care we provide to the parents. The best poster award was given to Fameeda Palk and colleagues from the UK for their poster on “Safe discharge of a non-English speaking family from the international paediatric unit at Great Ormond Street Hospital”.
Following last year nurses’ Satellite Symposium on Veno-Occlusive Disease (VOD) and development of a VOD learning programme supported by Gentium/Jazz Pharmaceuticals, this year the Satellite Symposium “Don’t Let HSCT Complications Stand in the Way of Recovery” was greatly appreciated, with members of the faculty involved in the program development presenting risk factors and complications in affecting recovery.
Testimony of the travel grant's applicantDaniele Girardi is a nurse who works in the Bone Marrow Transplantation unit at Humanitas Hospital in Milan since 2004. Moreover, she has worked as a case-manager nurse for three years, a role that requires continuous professional updates regarding transplantation and apheresis.
Daniele received the Nurses Group travel grant of 750€, allowing her to attend the Annual Meeting of the EBMT in Istanbul. She is sharing with us her experience in this short article below:
Each year, the EBMT Annual Meeting receives thousands of professionals involved in patient assistance who underwent bone marrow transplantation from all over the world. The participation of nurses increases at every meeting. It is a great opportunity for cultural exchange and dissemination of scientific knowledge.
The practice of any nurse involved with a transplant patient assistance program is very complex. The care, coordination, study, health education cannot be done with quality if not following scientific basis.
This year it was also possible to verify the quality of the scientific content proposed by the EBMT Nurses Group. The topics discussed, such as the works presented either as lecture or as poster demonstrate the high level of nurses’ work in the world.
At the latest EBMT Meeting, I personally found e-health quite interesting. Today, the use of internet and computers are very present in our daily life. This session was just about the use of these instruments in education and orientation of the patient and his family. It is an important issue for sure. Internet allows us to easily have access to all sorts of information. It can be used as an important instrument helping transplant patients. At the same time it can also be a source of misleading information without any scientific basis. I believe that it could be interesting to make a list of EBMT-certified web site available for consultation both to patients and nurses.
Other topics are so important for nursing practice that they are discussed each year such as protective isolation, mucositis, infection, fertility and sexuality, patients’ and caregivers’ education, early and late complications, etc. Not enough has been said about those subjects since each year new related studies and practical experience bring new working approaches to our professional expertise.
Some among the presentations called my attention such as “body image”, “returning to work” and “complementary therapy” personally because their contents are quite often present in my informative conversations with patients. All together, these presentations and many others showed how a nurse’s working range is wide and varied, and how our practice can change the path of the transplant patient for the better.
As a nurse, I think it would be interesting to have a handbook proposed by the ‘EBMT NG containing the main directions for nurses’ daily practice. It would be an opportunity to bring together the knowledge of competent professionals at the same time allowing anyone to access it easily.
This year, the EBMT Annual Meeting has reached all expectations. For those who were there, they had the opportunity to learn, teach and share knowledge in the field of bone marrow transplantation. Allow me to cite a special recognition to the EBMT NG who works hard all year to promote quality meetings for nurses, not only from Europe, but all over the world.