Internationalization is a key issue in healthcare, which will have an increasing impact on dermatology nursing. Global influences, cross-cultural exchange, and a sharing of developments in practice and research advances will shape the future development of dermatology nursing (Ersser, 2012). Collaboration by the Dermatology Nurses’ Association (DNA) within the international nursing and medical dermatology community has moved the specialty of dermatological nursing forward as well as improved the overall skin health of all citizens. DNA has played a key role in defining the knowledge and practice for the specialty of dermatology nursing in the United States for almost four decades, starting this work in 1978 (Nicol, 1992a). Shortly after the British Dermatological Nursing Group (BDNG) was established in 1989, the DNA made contacts with the BDNG. In 1991, DNA President Edna Atwater initiated meetings with the international representatives of the BDNG attending the DNA Annual Convention and formalized opportunities for members to attend each group’s annual meetings with complimentary registrations. In June 1992, DNA President Noreen Nicol promoted DNA hosting a summer dermatology nursing meeting in New York City during the 18th World Congress of Dermatology (WCD; Nicol, 1992b). This was one of the first times that there was nursing presence during the WCD.
The WCD is the world’s oldest and continuous international dermatology meeting. The first Congress in 1889 predated the modern Olympics by 7 years. The WCD holds the meeting every 4–5years. The International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS, 2018; www.ilds.org) is the global dermatology organization that hosts and coordinates the WCD. The International Skin Care Nursing Group (ISNG; www.isng.co.uk) was the first nursing affiliate to the ILDS. Currently, DNA and BDNG are also nursing affiliates to the ILDS. The ISNG was a global nonprofit organization that had an international advisory board of directors (Ersser, 2012). Professor Steven Ersser from the United Kingdom was chair and a key director for much of the ISNG history. Past president of DNA Noreen Nicol was a director in the ISNG from 2000 to 2015 and actively participated in the past WCD activities as director, facilitator, and speaker. ISNG directors Barbara Page and Rebecca Penzer have described the contributions of dermatology nurses in Europe (Page, 2012; Penzer, 2012). For the last almost 20 years, ISNG has promoted awareness of dermatology nursing and skin health worldwide and the key role that nurses play, in both developed and resource-poor economies (Kelly, 2012). The ISNG board of directors participated in illustrating an important care delivery model for our specialty with dermatology departments supporting primary care delivery (Ersser et al., 2011).
Early explorations to form alliance with the DNA were made between the ISNG Board during a visit to a DNA convention in 2001 by Professor Steven Ersser, chair of ISNG, with past and then present DNA Presidents Nancy Vargo (2000), Noreen Nicol (1992), and Janice Harris (2002). This meeting explored potential contributions of DNA in developing skin care nursing worldwide. In 2004, DNA President Robin Weber rekindled the international relationships with both the BDNG and the newly formed ISNG. The DNA presidents, Weber, Atwater, and Nicol, reestablished the process of acknowledging international guests at the 2005 DNA Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, and several annual conventions after that time (Maguire & Page, 2005). DNA Presidents Robin Weber (2004) and Cathy Boeck (2005) developed further links to ISNG with specific support for the ISNG-led nursing meeting at the WCD in 2007 (Nicol, 2012).
The ISNG has organized the last four International Dermatology Nursing Scientific Programs at WCD, held in Paris, France, in 2002; Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2007; Seoul, South Korea, in 2011; and Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2015. The International Dermatology Nursing Scientific Program was held as an official Ancillary and Sister Societies Meetings at the WCD for the past four congresses. When hosted in Vancouver, immediate past president of the DNA Nina MacDonald as a resident of Vancouver and working with one of the key physicians in the ILDS during this WCD provided a key opportunity for the DNA to participate in this global event (MacDonald, 2012). At the WCD in Vancouver, there was both an International Dermatology Nursing Scientific Program and an International Dermatology Nursing Leadership Summit facilitated by Professor Steven Ersser and Dr. Noreen Nicol. Many DNA members participated in both the International Dermatology Nursing Scientific Program and the International Dermatology Nursing Leadership Summit.
The next WCD will be in Milan, Italy, on June 10–15, 2019, hosted by the Italian Society of Dermatology. In Milan, DNA and the BDNG are hosting an International Dermatology Nursing Scientific Program on Monday, June 10, 2019, at 8:30AM 5:30PM and an International Dermatology Nursing Leadership Summit on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. Dr. Noreen Nicol is the Chair of the International Dermatology Nursing Scientific Program. Abstracts invited for oral presentations were from all contexts of international dermatology nursing. All forms of scholarly inquiry of dermatology nursing knowledge by nursing and interdisciplinary team members were welcomed. The oral presentations will be in English and 15–20 minutes each in length that includes speaker introductions and questions.
The categories for submission include the following:
- General interest: dermatology nursing related to delivery of care models or skin disease process, community (regional, national, or international) initiatives, or practice initiatives, partnerships, or networks
- History of dermatological care: updates in dermatology nursing evidence-based practices, updates or new guidelines in dermatology nursing care, changes in dermatologic nursing advocacy, health promotion, or health education over time
- Scientific: new or original findings related to dermatologic care, technology, treatment, medications, or evidence-based practice
- Case study: presentation of innovative examples of dermatology nursing care, health promotion, or health advocacy
The International Dermatology Nursing Leadership Summit hosted by the DNA and BDNG will look at further collaboration between dermatological nurses worldwide to encourage networking and creating communication channels.
Focus will be on two key issues:
- Ensuring that we have well-established mechanisms to produce an excellent nursing meeting at every WCD.
- Developing ways of working with the international medical dermatology community so that the nursing voice can contribute to issues on an international platform. This means that national nursing organizations should become active members of the ILDS and that we should work with the International Foundation for Dermatology on ways that nurses can contribute to improving access to dermatological care in developing countries.
DNA has an opportunity to continue to be a leader in promoting collaboration between dermatological nurses worldwide. DNA challenges each member to consider the role that each can play to support the international dermatology nursing community. Bring your unique cultural and personal perspectives forward to be part of the global influences, cross-cultural exchange, and a sharing of developments in practice and research advances to shape the future development of dermatology nursing!
Noreen Heer Nicol, PhD, RN, FNP, NEA-BC
Associate Professor, University of Colorado, College of Nursing, Denver, Colorado
Past- President, DNA
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