4th Biennial Conference of AAMCFHN

‘Broadening Horizons’

May 19-21st, Gold Coast Convention Centre Conference

report by Sue Kruske

The world will never be the same following the largest meeting of Maternal, Child and Family Health Nurses in our nation’s history! This conference proved to be the biggest AAMCFHN conference to date with over 750 registrations received. It was a whopping success and thanks to all the speakers, sponsors, and of course delegates who contributed to the success.

The worker bees!

The conference would not have been possible if not for the commitment and dedication of the conference organising committee. The committee was formed soon after the Adelaide conference in June 2009. We met every 4 to 8 weeks over the next 23 months depending on need. A social committee and scientific committee were also formed and consisted of one or more members of the conference committee and other interested members from the other states and territories.

Special recognition and thanks to the following AAFMCHN members.
Conference Committee members: Sue Kruske (QLD and chair), Jill Hibben (WA), Julian Grant (SA), Elizabeth Ruschena (Vic), Jenny Jones (NSW). Virginia Hunter (NSW), Creina Mitchell (Qld), Vicki Attenborough (Qld). Social Subcommittee members: Jenni Jones (chair), Vicki Attenborough, Glenda McGill, Catherine O'Neill and Lorrie Howlett Scientific Subcommittee: Sue Kruske (chair), Julian Grant, Creina Mitchell, Elizabeth Ruschena, Virginia Hunter Conference organisers The organisers, Corporate Communique provided an excellent service. It is believed that Corporate Communique does a great job and acts in our best interest and are pleased to announce that they have been re-enlisted to organise our next conference in Canberra in 2013.

Social event

The conference dinner will be remembered forever by the 500 people who attended!! A blonde or brunette wig was given to each female delegate who had registered for the dinner – this was the official ‘ticket’ to the dinner. No wig, no entrance. A white tie given to the males although for one very lucky delegate, her wonderful fella wore the wig and she wore the bow tie! The ABBA theme was well advertised and some of us (and our partners!) went to extreme length to embrace the ABBA concept. A range of body suits, 70s clothes, and party outfits resulted and we have included a few photos that give you a glimpse at the amazing time we had. Thanks so much to all of you for your energy, enthusiasm and commitment to have such a great time. Thanks also to the social committee, listed above and led by Jenni Jones from NSW for organising this great event!


An online evaluation was emailed to all delegates a few days after that conference and thanks to those of you who filled it out (though there was plenty of incentive with a number of PANDA pearl earrings being drawn from those who filled out the evaluation).

Overall the evaluation feedback was hugely positive. A few snippets of great feedback include: A large variety of relevant topics. All speakers were interesting and spoke well (keeping my attention....). Even those who spoke of familiar subjects, gave new perspectives and information.. It was less theory/dry research than in previous conferences.

I have been to all four conferences and I look forward to them each year. It is very stimulating to meet so many other nurses doing the same work as I do and hearing about the latest theories and developments in our field. All of the Keynote Speakers and concurrent sessions were worthwhile. Well done! Plus I had a great time at the dinner and Abba show too. Looking forward to dressing up next time. I really enjoyed this conference. It was the best conference I have been to in a very long time. I loved the Breast wishes sections to lighten the mood, I loved Fay's presentation (bi-polar) to give a human glimpse from the other side, I loved the variety of topics- clinical, research, registration update & requirements, mentoring, peer support, programs.

I thoroughly enjoyed this conference and have raved about to my colleagues. I think having some lighter topics was great and the lengthy breaks enabled networking..


No conference is possible without the contribution of conference sponsors. Gymbaroo continues its support as the platinum supporter and we thank them for this. Gold sponsors included:

There were small problems with complaints regarding some concerns that we inadvertently may have violated the WHO Code on Breastmilk substitutes. This should be addressed for Canberra following the development of more stringent guidelines so if any of you have an interest in helping us with these guidelines please contact us on info@aamcfhn.org.au.

The non health/medical exhibitions were highly valued – the milk people, free coffee and of course Panda Pearls who did an amazing job by donating a range of pearls including a beautiful string of pearls valued at over $5,000. This was raffled off over the two day conference and proceeds went towards a new scholarship fund to support the education and support of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce in the area of maternal, child and family health. There were requests for more exhibitors like this with suggestions of shoes, jewellery, handbags, accessories, aromatherapy, etc being mentioned.


In summary, it was a great event. Best of luck to our next conference committee and the challenge of making Canberra 2013 our best conference yet.

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