On day one, the keynote speaker, Dr Nils Bergman, discussed the neuro-science of skin-to-skin contact. Here we gained valuable knowledge about the impact of the environment and stress on the brain development of the neonate. Dr. Bergman stressed ‘zero separation’. Separation of the neonate from the mother leads to toxic stress increasing cortisol levels. We also learnt that eye to eye and skin to skin contact are crucial first steps in ensuring the correct “wiring” of the brain. Day 2 provided information on various success stories and best care practices including the importance of KMC in neonatal transportation. There was a frustrating but insightful update on our efforts to get Neonatal Nursing recognised as a speciality on its own with dedicated training.
The day ended with all the neonatal nurses in tears as a mother shared her story. She shared her trials and joys over 6 months of neonatal ICU life stating how the neonatal nurses helped and encouraged her along this difficult path. It was wonderful to see her baby, now walking, as he made us realise again, how important and special our work is and the impact it makes in the lives of our babies and their families.