Today we had the wonderful opportunity to visit with the Plunket Society. This is a non-profit organization that works with mothers/fathers and their children. Plunket nurses visit/see children up until they are five years of age. This service is free for anyone, which is amazing. Over 93% of the New Zealand population uses this service. Plunket nurses will only see those children who are well, so if a child is not well then the nurse refers them to their family doctor or pediatrician for further evaluation. There was so much to learn from this group of educators and nurses, but the one main topic that really stuck out to me was the type of teamwork that they use.
Teamwork is a very important part of nursing. The Plunket Society is very big on this concept. Each child that is seen by a Plunket nurse receives a “Well Child” book. This is a book that the parents take to all of their appointments, whether it is a dentist appointment, an appointment with the doctor/pediatrician, midwife, or a Plunket nurse. All of the different care providers can make notes within the book. This allows for all of the care providers to see other comments that were made to help them understand the patient better. This is a really amazing book and I really feel that it helps with communication and teamwork between all healthcare professionals that work with that same patient. Another part of the Plunket teamwork that I find wonderful is that they include the parents in all aspects of care. They not only talk to the parents and ask them what they think; they actually document what the parents say in the “Well Child” book. Getting the parents' thoughts and concerns documented is a huge part of good communication. The parent knows their child the best when it comes to noticing if something is different, so listening to what they have to say is important.
The teamwork that happens within the Plunket Society is absolutely amazing. I feel that the United States could really benefit from a program such as this. The teamwork that they use would be a great aspect of care to include in all areas of care in the United States. I do feel that in the United States there is a great deal of communication, but not as much communication between the parents, child and/or family members. In the States we focus more on the communication between healthcare workers and staff. I feel that in the States, healthcare workers would be willing to incorporate the parents/family more, but would not want to add the extra documentation that the Plunket nurses do. I plan to use all that I learned today to incorporate parents/families more into care and that way they are part of the “Teamwork” that takes place. This is an amazing program and I hope to see something like this evolve in the States one day.
This journal meets the course outcome #5: Compare and Contrast healthcare provided in New Zealand and the U.S.A and #9: Describe the nursing and other provider roles in various healthcare settings in New Zealand.