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Megan Mackay - Winner of the 2018 Nurses Travel Award sponsored by Abbvie
Photo by Crohn's & Colitis New Zealand Charitable Trust

Nurses Travel Award 2019

Megan McKay, IBD Nurse —

I am the IBD Nurse for Hutt Valley DHB and was lucky enough to win the CCNZ Travel Award in November 2018.

Firstly I would like to say a big thank you to CCNZ for choosing me for this award. It is an amazing opportunity for IBD Nurses. I would like to give a big thanks to AbbVie who funds the award.

I chose to go to ECCO which is the European IBD conference, one of the biggest in the world. This year it was in Copenhagen, Denmark. I had the privilege of attending ECCO with an amazing group from New Zealand.  This made it less daunting as this was my first time travelling to Europe and I don’t have the best sense of direction at the best of times, let alone when jetlagged.

The biggest take home message I had from ECCO was that patients don’t like going from the paediatric service into the adult service. There were two amazing young ladies who spoke on this topic and neither liked the transition period.  We have also seen this in our service at Hutt hospital and it is something that we are constantly working on. It was reassuring that we all face the same issues no matter where in the world we are working. For me that was good to see as I have often wondered how different it is in other countries, especially where they have bigger services and more staff.

Another great message was that, although in New Zealand we don’t have access to as many drugs as other countries, it is easier for us to get access. An example was given about the South African public hospital system only having so many spaces per year to give infliximab and, once those spaces are filled, that it is it.  No one else can have it. Of course if you have private insurance it isn’t a problem. I personally found this horrifying and am very pleased to live in a country like ours.

I also had to opportunity to travel to London and spend a few days in an IBD Clinic at the Royal Free London Hospital. This was another great experience and yet again showed that, as IBD Nurses, we all face the same challenges and frustrations. It was great to be able to sit in their multi disciplinary team meeting and hear that we are all have similar practices.

Being given this opportunity has highlighted to me that my practice is current and I am doing the same as my counterparts around the world. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you still face the same situations. New Zealand IBD doctors and nurses are as up to date as the rest of the world. 

Thank you again for the award and to AbbVie for funding this.