I am delighted to be editing, with my colleague Dr. Fiona Cowdell (RN), our inaugural international issue of the Journal of the Dermatology Nurses’ Association (JDNA). In this special issue, you will gain an insight into dermatology nursing across the globe, with contributions from various continents. Internationalization is a key issue in healthcare, which will have an increasing impact on our clinical field. The future development of dermatology nursing will be shaped by global influences, cross-cultural exchange, and a sharing of developments in practice and research advances. The primary aim of this issue is to raise awareness of some of the issues facing dermatology nursing worldwide and, in doing so, act as a catalyst to promote collaboration and support to prepare us better for the current and future health challenges we face.
The JDNA is a young journal in its formative period that is striving to be outward looking, highlighting new perspectives and opportunities. In this issue, we examine opportunities to meet the needs for dermatology care and the promotion of skin health worldwide. This requires an open-minded perspective, stimulating learning from other cultures on how we may best respond to these challenges, whether in resource-rich or resource-poor countries.
This issue is timely given the recent announcement that the World Congress of Dermatology (WCD), which is held every 4–5 years, will take place in North America in 2015. This will be hosted in Vancouver where the immediate past president of the DNA, Nina MacDonald, is based and presents a key opportunity for the DNA to prepare for this global event. The International Skin Care Nursing Group (ISNG; www.isng.co.uk) is the nursing affiliate to the global dermatology organization that hosts and coordinates the WCD—namely, the International League of Dermatological Societies. The ISNG has organized the last three nursing scientific meetings at Congress; the first of which I chaired in Paris, followed by one in Buenos Ares, Argentina, and then last year, a meeting was held in Seoul, South Korea. The ISNG is a global nonprofit organization. For the last 12 years, ISNG has promoted awareness of dermatology nursing and skin health worldwide and the key role that nurses play, both in developed and resource-poor economies. It does this partly through creating educational opportunities for nurses at low cost. We also help to support national groups through partnership working or, as is often the case, dermatology nurses isolated in countries without any membership organization to connect with global audiences. The ISNG promotes educational opportunities at often-established international events that raise the profile of dermatology nursing and its development worldwide. The WCD provides an excellent opportunity for the DNA, as well as for the Canadian Dermatology Association that is hosting this event, to work with ISNG to develop an excellent meeting within an international forum, with good representation from North America.
In this special issue, a number of ISNG and DNA leaders and supporters have shared their experiences of international work. Pat Kelly highlights the importance of community dermatology care in resource-poor continents, such as Africa, and the significant achievements being made to cascade dermatology nursing expertise across Africa. This also illustrates an important care delivery model for our specialty with dermatology departments supporting primary care delivery (Ersser et al., 2011). Dr. Vineet Kaur is an Indian dermatologist who, through ISNG, has led the development of the concept of dermatology nursing and the awareness of the valuable role that nurses can play within any dermatological service among Indian dermatologists. Jill Brooks, an expert in tropical disease nursing and tissue viability, reveals the clinical challenges of working in countries such as Uganda and the need for using simple innovative technologies to enable simple skin care, such as washing with clean water, to take place.
This special edition also includes several contributions from ISNG leaders working in Europe. Barbara Page from Scotland reports on the efforts made by nurses in Europe to create a nursing presence and educational opportunities within the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. Rebecca Penzer, the editor of the UK journal, Dermatological Nursing, discusses her role as a clinical nurse specialist in dermatology within United Kingdom.
Finally, and closer to home, we look both back and forward. Noreen Nicol, a well-known DNA past president, provides her reflections on the role the DNA has played in the development of dermatology nursing in North America and her involvement in ISNG for over a decade. Nina MacDonald, DNA’s immediate past president, casts us to the future in highlighting the exciting international collaborative opportunity provided by the Vancouver-based World Congress in 2015 (www.derm2015.org/home.html).
I hope you will enjoy the challenge this issue brings—to reflect on what we can all learn from international engagement and different cultural perspectives. We also hope that this special edition will inspire you to reach out to dermatology nurses worldwide and promote greater global exchange within the dermatology field. I do believe that this special issue represents another small but significant milestone in the international development of dermatology nursing.
Ersser S. J., Kaur V., Kelly P., Langoen A., Maguire S., Nicol N. H., Ward C. (2011). The contribution of the nursing service worldwide and its capacity to benefit within the dermatology field. International Journal of Dermatology, 50 (5), 582–589.