Nurses who work in bariatric surgery units or care for patients who are morbidly obese face unique challenges. A conference being held Thursday, May 1, and Friday, May 2, at the Greenville Hilton Hotel will give the health care professionals educational tools they need to help care for this specific type of patient.
The conference, “The Many Faces of Bariatric Nursing,” is co-sponsored by the East Carolina University College of Nursing and the National Association of Bariatric Nurses. It will kick off with a networking reception at 7 p.m. Thursday and continue with daylong programming on Friday. Sessions will cover topics such as caring for children affected by obesity, the relationship between obesity and exercise, the effect of bariatric surgery on couples’ relationships and more. (The conference brochure, available for download here, includes the complete agenda.)
“These obese patients present many nursing challenges,” said event organizer Dr. Mary Ann Rose, explaining that issues range from safety concerns for nurses transferring patients to skin care problems for patients with a lot of weight bearing down on their joints.
Rose, who is pictured at left, is professor and chair of the department of graduate nursing science as well as founding president and emeritus board member of NABN. She said the event is an excellent continuing education opportunity. Organizers have requested that it count as .7 contact hours, which will be awarded to participants upon completion of the program.
Registration costs $100 for regular admission, $50 for ECU faculty and Vidant employees, or $25 for ECU students. Fees include the evening networking reception and daylong program as well as a one-year membership in the National Association of Bariatric Nurses.
Rose pointed to North Carolina’s relatively high obesity rates as one motivating factor for holding the event. About 28 percent of adults in the state are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The statistics are even higher in eastern North Carolina,” she said, “so we wanted to provide nurses here with an educational opportunity to support them in serving this population.”