NSW/ACT Branch



Email the NSW/ACT Branch

Branch Chair:
Perambalam Pattabhiraman

Branch Committee:
Natividad Miles
Carmen Moroney
Tanya Smolonogov (Education)

Expressions of interest to join the Committee are welcome


Forthcoming Events

In addition to the Annual Conference, education and networking events are scheduled locally by the NSW/ACT Branch each year.   A diverse range of presentations is provided, with many attributing CPD hours to attendees.  To view the latest events, please visit our calendar of events.


Past Events & News

NSW/ACT Branch Symposium - October 2019

NSW/ACT Education Evening 20 September 2017 - Transplantation

The NSW/ACT Education Evening on Wednesday 20 September was held at Westmead Hospital with a focus on Transplantation.  It was a great evening and many thanks to Khin Myint who coordinated the evening, and to the speakers Patricia Anderson, Elaine Chan, Dr Jennifer Li and Kathy Kable for their informative presentations.  

I would also like to thank our sponsors for the evening Sanofi, Dialysis Australia and Astellas Transplant.

RSA Education Day NSW Branch 2016

The RSA NSW/ACT branch held another very successful education on Friday 4 November 2016, hosted by Wollongong Hospital at City Beach Function Center.

The 85 participants enjoyed a number of educational topics including primary care, CKD, dialysis and transplantation with the majority of the speakers representing the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District renal service. The day highlighted the local renal services commitment to research, both nursing and medical.

The program included presentations by:

  • Prof Elizabeth Halcomb an experienced nurse academic who leads a strong research program in primary care nursing at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Prof Halcomb spoke on benefits to patient outcomes with collaboration with primary care providers and specialist care.
  • Mikki Smyth, the CKD Clinical Nurse Consultant, for the ISLHD presented her research evaluating the benefits of renal HealthPathways and encouraged other to investigate this initiative in their own LHD as a way to improve collaboration with primary care.
  • Dr Karumathil Murali is a senior staff specialist at Wollongong and Shellharbour hospitals and Clinical Associate Professor at the UOW.  Dr Murali presented his research in cognitive function and treatment adherence in dialysis patients.
  • Myra Sgorbini, CNC for Organ and Tissue Donation at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, presented on current issues and research in the deceased organ donor field.
  • Prof Maureen Lonergan is the director of Renal Medicine for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District presented the good, bad and ugly of renal transplantation.
  • Kelly Lambert is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian and Senior Research Clinician at Wollongong Hospital. Kelly presented her current work while undertaking a PhD at the UOW focusing on how cognitive impairment and low health literacy effect the way patients with renal disease understand health information and manage their disease.
  • Prof Jim Greenstein is a Senior Staff Specialist and Nephrologist at ISLHD and Deputy Chair of the Human Research Ethics Committee of the UOW. Dr Greenstein gave us an insightful view into a case study of profound hyponatraemia that had very wide ramification at all levels of the health system.
  • Margreet Gutker is the Nurse Manager for renal services of the ISLHD. Margreet presented her award winning quality project on improving peritonitis rates while undertaking the graduate of the Clinical Excellence Commission’s (CEC) Clinical Leadership Programme.
  • Dr Jane Holt, a Renal Physician ISHLD, presented her work conducting a double blinded randomised placebo control trial investigating the effects of evening primrose oil and Fish oil on dialysis patients with uraemic pruritus.
  • D. Laurencia Villalba is a Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon with clinical appointments in both the ISLHD public and private hospitals of Wollongong. Dr Villalba has extensive experience and qualifications in vascular interventions and surgery and advocates minimally invasive techniques. Dr Villalba gave the participants a fabulous overview of the current use of Vascular Access Angiojet, including her own personal experience with the technique.
  • Pauline Byrne, the Vascular Access coordinator of the Renal Service at ISLHD demonstrated her passion for vascular access and belief in collaboration with all stakeholders for the best outcomes for patients. She presented her research on the crippling effects of high access flow.
  • Amanda, NUM of Wollongong Renal unit, recently completed the Effective Leadership Program in 2016. Amanda presented her quality project on reducing line related bacteraemia’s.
  • Scott Dobson who works as a CNS at Shoalhaven Hospital presented a very memorable case study on Calciphylaxis.  

The venue provided a very pleasant and relaxed beach view for participants to enjoy throughout the breaks. The gathering provided adequate opportunities for networking and social engagements with excellent verbal feedback to organisers throughout the day.

Guardianship & Ethics - Wednesday 30 March 2016

The first speaker, Ms Lucy Russel from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal Guardianship Division, gave a comprehensive review of the services available to the public though her office. Her presentation gave those present food for thought in relation to wills and the requirements around them, as well as some issues in relation to appointing a Power of Attorney and/or an Enduring Power of Attorney.  

Lucy also spoke about planning for future healthcare needs through the identification of a Person Responsible, and in particular the appointment of an Enduring Guardian. She spoke about the service that the Tribunal offers in relation to the appointment of a Guardian in cases where a person has no-one to represent them and when they are unable to participate in decision making about themselves. Finally, she touched on the topic of Advance Care Planning as another valuable means of communicating wishes to those who may need to make decisions on your behalf. 

She recommended that we all visit, and recommend to our patients, the NSW Government website that combines information about these important topics: Planning Ahead Tools that can be found at http://planningaheadtools.com.au

Finally, Lucy also mentioned that from July 1, the Tribunal will be offering a new Making a Will service to the people of NSW. At a one-off cost of around $300 for the general public and free for pensioners, the Tribunal are able to hold wills in their departmental safe facilities in perpetuity - so keep a lookout for the advertising of these initiatives.  

Our second speaker was Dr Linda Sheahan who is a palliative care physician at St George and Calvary Hospitals in Sydney. Her presentation on the ethical considerations of nephrology care was a stimulating and challenging exploration of the clinical ethics we often navigate in the journey our patients’ experience during the trajectory of their illness.

She outlined a framework that may be useful for staff grappling with their thoughts and feelings, when a conversation is needed in the planning of care for a patient. She described a process that addresses a patient’s needs and desires within the process of decision making, with particular focus on four main areas, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice. These four principles are from the work of Beauchamp and Childress in their book The Principles of Biomedical Ethics that was first published in 1983 and provide a theoretical framework that clinicians can apply when analysing ethical dilemmas at work. 

Linda has expanded on the work of Beauchamp and Childress to develop a process that she feels assists healthcare workers in their decision making in today’s complex healthcare system. She illustrated this by using a commonly experienced scenario of an elderly dialysis patient whose health and functional ability is deteriorating but there has been no evidence of any conversations about health goals or short and long-term planning.

The evening was a great success, not just in terms of the educational content, but also the wonderful networking that took place.