Making an impact

The Breast Course for Nurses: who we are and what we have done over the last 12 months     

We have run several courses over the last 12 months:

Cape Town, South Africa – 15 nurses trained
Lilongwe, Malawi – 26 nurses trained
Windhoek, Namibia – 30 nurses trained
Ongwediva, Namibia – 30 nurses trained
Harare, Zimbabwe – 257 health care providers trained
Johannesburg, South Africa – 42 nurses trained

An account of each course can be found on the blog: http://www.jennyedge.co.za and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/breastcourse4nurses

blog 2The course is constantly evolving and I want to highlight some of the new changes we have made this year.

The major challenge we have addressed is allowing the course to run independently.

I have learnt a lot about teaching through the whole process.  The course was set up along the principles of the flipped class technique.

blog 2.1Unlike teaching at school, the participants on the courses are very varied and most are experts in their own areas.  We were constantly faced with the challenge of having large numbers of health care workers with vastly differing levels of knowledge about breast cancer and differing needs from the course.  In Zimbabwe, we were asked to extend the training to include doctors.  We met the challenge by dividing the 2 day course into 3 day long modules:
Module 1 was capped at 80 students and aimed at primary health care workers, breast cancer advocates and registered nurses.
Module 2 was capped at 50 participants and was aimed at registered nurses from the clinics, oncology sisters and doctors.
Module 3 was capped at 30 participants and was aimed at oncology sisters and doctors.  It allowed us to teach biopsy techniques.

blog 2.2We were also asked to have a “train the trainers” day. In many ways, the request ran against our aim to equip nurses to be self sufficient in their learning.  (The principle behind PEP is that health care workers should educate themselves with the material provided.)  Nevertheless, we blended the 2 approaches and Prof Woods and I ran a day in which we looked at different teaching modalities and tried to apply them to the course.  We defined “teaching” as the “sharing of understanding”
The result was that Module 1 of the Breast Course for Nurses was entirely taught by the nurses who attended the train the trainer’s day and studied the book (Breast Care).  I was immensely proud!

In Johannesburg, we took a different approach to deal with the challenge.  The course was run at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital by Dr Sarah Nietz and her team.  I wasn’t there at all.  I understand that 45 nurses completed the course.  The faculty were entirely local.

blog 2.3

Many thanks to everyone who has been involved with the Breast Course for Nurses.  If you wish to become involved, run a course or know more, please contact us.

Dr Jenny Edge, Founder and director of Breast Course for Nurses (PBO No.: 930050375)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/breastcourse4nurses

Blog: www.jennyedge.co.za

Email: lieskewegelin@gmail.com

 

 

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August 2015’s POW-WOW: Policy Production Progress

“The test of our PROGRESS 

is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much;

it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”  

 

~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Nestled alongside Mowbray’s Main Road, whooshed past by hustling taxis, bicycling students and colourful Capetonian pedestrians, CANSA‘s Cape Town headquarters houses a passionate team of people who’ve made it their mission to research cancer causes and treatments, educate South Africans about cancer – and provide invaluably expert and heartfelt support to those affected by cancer. And on Wednesday, this matronly old building was host to a boisterously excited group of ABC representatives who were meeting to discuss the group’s most recent efforts and subsequent successes, as well as develop their ongoing goal-driven strategy  → lobbying government to create and implement an equitable breast health policy for all South Africans.

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - Team
Unfortunately not all of our determined damsels were able to be at the meeting — but fortunately, it was because they were so busy making a difference!

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~Helen Keller 

 

In case you’ve just arrived to join us on this tremendous project, are members are featured below! We’re proud to welcome Wings of Hope  to our flock!

(Click on their logo to visit their website – and read more here!)

Advocates for Breast Cancer - Wings of Hope NGO

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - Reach for Recovery

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - Project Flamingo - amaBele Belles

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - CANSA

http://www.plwc.org.za/

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - Breast Health Foundation

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - Breast Course 4 Nurses

ABC - Advocates for Breast Cancer - Pink Drive

We Need Trained Health Professionals!

Mammography, ultrasounds, genetic testing… Lifestyles of the rich and the famous? Well, at least that is how many people living in South Africa feel.

Some people do not even know what a mammogram is. But is this important? Should every woman be going for screening? Why is it that in a country where imaging and treatment is available do women still present with late stage cancer?

The answer is that basic breast self-examinations (carried out by oneself) and clinical breast examinations (performed by a trained health care professional) are not actually being carried out. Yes, mammograms are relevant in certain cases, as are ultrasounds, genetic testing and various other tests and screening – but in our country it is not the answer for the millions of women that have no easy access or funding to go for these tests. Breast self-examination and clinical breast examinations are the number one “tests” that need to be carried out.

It is vitally important that if a woman finds a new lump in her breast, that she goes for a clinical breast examination. Many women in South Africa do not have access to health care facilities like hospitals as the hospitals are often very far from where the people live (and therefore expensive to travel to)  and are also often back-logged with patients. The first point of care for the majority of women in South Africa would be a clinic where a primary health care nurse would assess them.

Breast Course for Nurses - Dr Jenny Edge

The Breast Course for Nurses – one of the partner organisations that make up the Advocates for Breast Cancer –  aims to equip primary health care nurses with the knowledge to perform clinical breast examinations and to know the differences between the normal changes to the breast and changes that need to be referred. The Breast Course for Nurses was started by Dr Jenny Edge, a general surgeon from Cape Town with a special interest in breast conditions. Dr Jenny Edge and Professor David Woods, a retired neonatologist (of the PEP foundation), wrote the Breast Care book which the course is based on. (Click here to equip yourself with a copy!)

To date, courses have been completed in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban with courses currently running in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. We are so excited to see what an impact this course is making! Look at the photos taken at the courses across the country here.

The Breast Course for Nurses focuses on the following topics:

  • the normal breast
  • clinical assessment of the breast
  • special investigations of the breast
  • benign changes of the breast
  • cancer of the breast
  • treatment of breast cancer
  • side effects of breast cancer treatment
  • palliative care
  • community outreach programmes

The course starts with a one day session where the first two  modules of the book are discussed. It then consists of six  months of distance learning with multiple choice questions (MCQ’s) for each module that need to be completed. The course then ends with a two day residential course where the remaining modules are discussed, wound care and palliative care are addressed and networking takes place. Practical sessions about biopsy techniques and lymphoedema therapy are carried out.

Although the core content of the course remains the same, both the input and practical sessions differ regionally depending on the needs of the nurses. The emphasis of the course is on learning rather than teaching and is primarily aimed at equipping nurses with the skills and knowledge to manage women with breast problems.

The World Health Organisation predicts that the mortality due to non-communicable diseases in the developing world will increase by 17% in the next 10 years. This will have a major impact on an already overburdened system.

Primary health care nurses will remain the first point of contact for many women as time goes on. The Breast Course for Nurses aims to educate these primary health care nurses so the correct clinical examinations can be carried out and an efficient referral system can be implemented.

breast course