Office hours: Monday - Friday, 9.00 - 17.00 EDT (UTC-04)
- Chair: Sue Ann McDevitt, Unites States of America
- Chair-elect: Heather Connor, Canada
- Ruth Anderson, Australia
- Lisa Lynch Jones, United States of America
- Jacqueline Mier, United States of America
- Caroline Nash, Australia
- Jutarmas Olanwijitwong, Thailand
Welcome to the NPG page on the ISTM Website. The NPG Council views this site as one of several ways to communicate with ISTM nurses on a regular and ongoing basis. We want this website to be relevant to your professional needs and interests-in both travel health nursing and ISTM.
NPG Blog for CTH® Exam Preparation
Following its success in 2015 and 2016, NPG is currently offering a CTH® Prep blog with weekly suggestions for self-study. While the content is designed to help nurses prepare for the May 2017 CTH® examination, any nurse may find the recommended resources useful to their professional growth and clinical practice. It is easy to join:
If you are an NPG member, Sign into My ISTM
Navigate and Enter the Community page
Click on “Explore All Communities”
Find the Nursing CTH® Study Group, click on “Join” and follow prompts.
If you are an ISTM member, but have not yet joined NPG then please do, it is free and easy. Log into your MyISTM account and join the group or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nursing in Travel Medicine Around the World
Each quarter we share a report from a travel health nurse working in a different country. Our goal is to identify similarities and differences in our profession - and to share our challenges and triumphs.
This quarter we highlight the work of Claire Wong, NPG Council member.
New Zealand: Claire Wong
Claire Wong, NPG Council member, was a Travel Health Specialist Nurse at the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) in the UK for 10 years before immigrating to New Zealand. She now works at Worldwise Travellers Health and Vaccination Centre in Auckland, New Zealand and shares her experiences of travel medicine in the UK and New Zealand. Clair writes:
"Perhaps it was a mid-life crisis, but in February 2013 I waved goodbye to the UK to start a new life in New Zealand with my husband David and our two dogs. I also waved goodbye to my job as Travel Health Specialist Nurse at the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), a role I had had since NaTHNaC's inception in 2002. The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I had a job offer at Worldwise Travellers Health and Vaccination Centre working with Marc Shaw in Auckland, so I was looking forward to this adventure. Personally and professionally the decision has been a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, experience.
After collecting the dogs from their short stay in the quarantine centre, unpacking, opening bank accounts and settling in to our new home, it was time to begin my new job.
In many ways my new role in NZ is similar to roles I have held in the UK; conducting travel health consultations and teaching travel medicine workshops. A return to clinical travel medicine saw me completing my immunisation training and becoming an Authorised Vaccinator, a requirement for all nurses administering vaccines in NZ. After 10 years of academic travel medicine, the transition back to clinical work was more stressful than I anticipated and it took a while to get back into the rhythm of conducting a travel health consultation which can vary wildly from the textbooks.
I then quickly realised that the most obvious difference between UK and NZ travel medicine is that UK travel medicine is predominantly a nurse-led service with most advice being provided in general practice by practice nurses. In NZ travel medicine is also provided in general practice, but predominantly by doctors. Many nurses only administer travel vaccines once prescribed by the GP. There are specialist travel clinics, but far less of them. I met several travellers who were surprised and even dismayed, to find that their appointment had been made with a nurse and not a doctor. The concept of a travel health specialist nurse is rather alien and I occasionally felt the pressure to 'prove myself'.
The issue of yellow fever vaccination was particularly tricky. In addition to an academic qualification in travel medicine and evidence of yellow fever specific education, one of the requirements to be a Yellow Fever Vaccinator in NZ is a medical degree. Technically a nurse can only administer yellow fever vaccination following a consultation with a doctor, who would then prescribe the vaccine. Practising as I do at Worldwise, conducting my own consultations sometimes without a doctor present, this presented an issue.
However, one of the signs of positive change in NZ travel medicine, particularly for nurses, is the fact that much to my surprise my application to be a Yellow Fever Vaccinator was accepted. To the best of my knowledge I am the only nurse Yellow Fever Vaccinator in NZ.
Although I haven't been in NZ for long, it feels like an exciting time to be practising travel medicine as a nurse here. Nurses are beginning to take a more active role in travel medicine and the travel health workshops we run are well attended. There is still work to be done, travel medicine is not recognised formally as a nursing specialty, and there are no national guidelines for the practice of travel medicine. But it does seem that the field is starting to gain recognition as the specialist area it is. I am fortunate that I can be part of the changes ahead and to be living in such a beautiful country."
New Zealand: Briar K. Campbell
Briar K. Campbell RCNZN, BTM, PGDipTravMed is a New Zealand Registered Nurse who has specialised in Travel Medicine since 2004. When not dreaming of her next overseas adventure, Briar juggles several roles, practising and tutoring travel medicine 2 - 3 days/week. She is also the Medical Clearance Co-ordinator for New Zealand Police. A typical working fortnight is rounded off with a hands- on approach working as a district nurse. This helps ensure that Briar keeps clinically up to date, complementing her other two other primary areas of employment. Gaining a Masters in Travel Medicine is still on the radar, but for now Briar is happy with the variety her jobs currently provide. Briar writes:
Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa. Ko Briar taku ingoa, no Aotearoa ahau - Greetings, greetings, greetings to you all, my name is Briar and I am from New Zealand
I am part of the recruiting and appointments team based @ Police National Headquarters in Wellington. Day to day I am involved in screening all potential recruits medical questionnaires and examinations, ensuring they reach minimum New Zealand Police (NZP)entry standard before authorising a medical clearance. If there is anything a tad curly or beyond my scope I liaise directly with the medical advisor for NZP at our weekly meeting. I also take on a practice nurse role covering leave @ the Royal New Zealand Police College (RNZPC). This is a drop in service for all recruits and NZP Officers based @ the College while on a course. Typical presentations include musculo-skeletal injuries or concerns, URTI type illness, insomnia issues, sexual health, psychological concerns surrounding exam stress etc. I also help out with the vaccination clinics held out @ RNZPC - specifically Hepatitis B, Influenza and Pertussis boosters. My previous role working the NZP Officers deploying offshore is no longer my responsibility, however I still keep in the loop.
I currently help out with the post graduate Travel Medicine papers offered by The University of Otago - Wellington School of Medicine. Students are a mix of doctors, nurses and pharmacists. My helping out is scheduled to become a formal engagement in 2013, for now it is on a casual basis.
I started out in Travel Medicine back in the day - 2004 while I was living and working (doing a 'tour of duty' with the NHS) in London. I had not long returned to the UK after a 2 month African adventure, saw an advertisement for a 'travel health nurse' and thought what a great combo - still nursing but talking and discussing travel stuff. I applied, got the job and worked for a few months in central London at various clinics dotted around the city. Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to return home to NZ much earlier than my 4 year ancestory visa had destined. But once settled back home though I applied for position @ a travel medicine specialist clinic, secured the job and stayed, working full time for seven years. Last year decided I needed a break and wanted more of a hands- on approach, so gave district nursing a go. New opportunities though just kept presenting themselves and for now district nursing has taken a distant back seat, with travel medicine, NZP, Otago not to mention becoming the newly elected secretary of the New Zealand Society of Travel Medicine (NZSTM), keeping me out of trouble and off the streets!
I have a Bachelor of Tourism Management (Victoria) and completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Travel Medicine (Otago) in 2010.
Probably no great surprise that travel is a hobby of mine, it's just a shame that it is an expensive hobby! I have been very fortunate however and have travelled extensively, my favourite location so far??? Aside from beautiful NZ - Aotearoa (I am biased of course), I have a very soft spot for the African continent. Have been twice and if I could go again tomorrow, I would! Otherwise when not dreaming of overseas adventures, I enjoy a range of sports - cycling, tramping (hiking for non kiwi's), squash, tennis, rugby - watching, walking my 3 legged wonder dog - Hobbs, when I have time getting stuck in the kitchen and cooking up a storm and socialising with friends and family. I have two beautiful nieces the oldest of which - Ella (7), I'm taking to Samoa for a 1/52 holiday next week. I know, I know- am I the best Aunty ever or what?!!!
I have been a member of ISTM since 2007.
Next project? Working on developing some national guidelines/standards/on-line resources/professional development for nurses practicing travel medicine in New Zealand. First port of call is to get the work nurses delivering pre travel health care recognised by our national body - NZ Nursing Council. Aiming to seek membership and nomination onto the committee of NZ College of Primary Health Care Nurses, submit an abstract describing our plight for the conference scheduled in August 2013 and take it from there...... I am under no illusion that this will involve a significant chunk of my 'spare' time, but I'm keen to give it a go!
E noho ra,
The Netherlands: Annemarie de Gouw
My name is Annemarie de Gouw, I am the assistant team leader of the travelers care team of the GGD Hart voor Brabant in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands there are 430 municipalities, they have the legal task to promote and protect the health of citizens against disease and disasters. Therefor municipal health services, (GGD), were founded. Each municipality is affiliated with one of the 25 local health services.
My team travelers care consists 2 doctors and 14 specially trained nurses. We see 25.000 travelers a year, averaged 15 appointments scheduled during a 4 hours shift. The nurses in the Netherlands independently carry out a consultation according to the federal guidelines.
These directives are drawn up by the national coordination center for travelers care, the LCR. Everyone in the Netherlands who is dealing with travelers care, such as the GGD, but also the travel clinics, the academic hospitals, the military, and the companies that have employees abroad is represented, that makes the LCR policy broad accepted. In the Netherlands travelers doctors and nurses are registered at the LCR.
During the office hours there always is a travelers care doctor who can be reached by telephone for questions that are not clear in the protocol or transcend the competence of a nurse. In some cases, the presence of a doctor is required, such as people known with an allergy. Calamities, such as collapse, the nurses can handle themselves. Every year I organize an emergency training where we exercise with a lotus victim (people who can portraying a victim realistic as possible).
Information is an important part of the consultation. With a specially developed information booklet "travel in the (sub) tropics" very focused advice is given. The starting point always is: Who is this traveler, Where he goes to and What will he do there. Annually the text of the information booklet is reviewed critically, I am sitting in the editorial since 2004.
At the training center of travel nurse I teach about giving information. I believe that there is still many health profit archived when the traveler gets specific information. Within our team I am working on a research about giving information, started in November 2011.
The Commission advising travelers is the official Professional Association for all travelers nurses in our country. As the secretary of the commission I work for the professionalization of our work as travel nurses. At the moment we are preparing the right to write a recipe for nurses according to the rules of the LCR protocol.
There is still a lot of work to do, thatâ€™s why I like my job.
Portugal: Lino André Silva
My name is Lino André Silva, I am 33 years old, from Oporto, north of Portugal.
I am a Nurse practitioner, in a specialized hospital for infectious diseases (Joaquim Urbano Hospital- Porto), and I work as a Travel Nurse Advisor in our International Vaccination Center.
For the last 5 years, the hospital has trained me in travel health and tropical medicine by sending me to tropical institutes and hospitals in Portugal, Spain, England, Tanzania and Angola. The training has improved my travel health knowledge and my ability to prepare workers, travelers, and volunteers, to go abroad, so they are knowledgeable about how to reduce their risks from travel health problems.
In my experience, the former Portuguese colonies are our major challenges in regards to travel medicine and post-travel consultation. More than 90%, of all our preparations are to Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Vert, Sao Tome and Principe which totals approximately 3000 people every year. In the last 4 years we assisted a massive emigration of Portuguese workers to these former colonies with working contracts of 3 years. Our concern and objective is the prevention of imported tropical diseases, some of which are completely forgotten for years.
In Portugal the importance of travel medicine is increasing every year, yet unfortunately in nursing schools we don't study this topic. The Portuguese Nursing Association does not either recognize travel medicine as a specialty in nursing. The positive public exposure by ISTM of nurses in travel medicine may help change the mentality of the leading heads of nursing in Portugal by illustrating the importance of the role of the nurse in travel health advising.
United Kingdom: James Moore RN BSc (Hons) Dip TravMed Dip TN MFTM RCPS (Glasg) FRGS
I run a travel clinic in the Southwest of England and lecture on the subjects of travel, wilderness and expedition medicine. I balance my travel medicine clinical and educational commitments with an Emergency Department Charge Nurse post. This combination of specialities allows me to provide medical support for UK expedition companies, either remotely or as the onsite expedition medic or leader.
My interest in Travel Medicine began in 1997 when I began working in an Emergency Department, specialising in Wilderness and Expedition Medicine. After a number of expeditions I completed the Diplomas in Tropical Nursing and Travel Medicine before completing a BSc (Hons) in Emergency Care.
All aspects of travel medicine interest me, but I do have special interests in tropical and expedition medicine. I have been fortunate enough not only to teach wilderness medicine to some fascinating individuals, but also to provide expedition medical support in some of the most amazing places on the planet. I have written for a number of publications on this subject, including the Oxford Handbook of Expedition and Wilderness Medicine and the forthcoming 6th edition of Wilderness Medicine by Paul Auerbach.
My passions in life are travel, adventure and outdoor sports; these activities give me an enthusiasm and energy for life, helping me to inspire my family and friends.
United States of America: Sally van Boheemen
I am the Director of Fleet Medical Operations at Holland America Line, a cruise ship company. I worked for five years doing clinical cruise ship nursing before moving into management of the same. My job today includes ensuring the implementation of medical care on board as per accepted medical guidelines, being aware of any current or emerging worldwide health issues, and knowing international immunization requirements for both staff and guests for every sailing. My team works to make sure vaccination information is passed on to the guests before they travel. Our ships carry anywhere from 1200 to 2300 guests and 500 - 900 + crew. Guests and crew come from all over the world.
Today, most cruise ships provide excellent routine and emergency medical care. We adhere to the Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities which are supported by the American College of Emergency Physicians. The work on board ranges from providing medication refills for medicines forgotten at home, to treating an acute MI in the middle of a 6 day ocean crossing. For those reasons, the pharmacy on board is quite extensive and includes everything from aspirin to thrombolytics.
Travel medicine is a fundamental component of my job. I must make sure that the ship satisfies the health requirements of every port it docks at. Some countries have very strict regulations and others are much more lenient so expectations at ports can range from a full health inspection to just a review of the pharmacy procedures and/or patient log sheets. The challenge is to anticipate the actions of local public health officials, since the expectations are inconsistent from country to country. Public health is a top priority of course so I must also ensure that we adhere to WHO (and Vessel Sanitation/CDC; Ship San in Europe, ANVISA in Brazil, as well as many other recognized health authorities) guidelines as they relate to maritime travel.
Myself, I love college football! Living in Washington State, we are blessed with beautiful mountains and I enjoy spending as much time as possible at our mountain cabin with my husband. I am also actively involved with Washington State University and serve on a number of different Executive Boards.
The overall aim of the Nurse Professional Group of ISTM is to provide leadership on all aspects of travel health in the global nursing community, to show commitment and support to ISTM nurse members, and to take a strategic lead in the professional development of nursing practice in travel health medicine.
To that end our goals are to:
- Foremost, to represent the interests of nurses within ISTM
- Demonstrate the value of nurses in travel medicine, whilst interacting with all other healthcare professionals working in this field of practice.
- Demonstrate leadership in travel medicine nursing within the ISTM and ensure collaboration between all other ISTM committees, professional and special interest groups
- Strongly advocate that nurses are integrated into the activities of the ISTM, for example, conferences, educational materials, research
- Promote nurse membership of the ISTM and seek to encourage global representation of nurse members
- Collaborate with other international nursing groups, when appropriate, for the professional advancement of travel medicine nursing
Benefits of NPG Membership
The Nurses Professional Group (NPG) represents nursing within ISTM and provides opportunities for international networking and professional development. All ISTM nurse members are eligible to join NPG without any additional fees. Membership in NPG helps ensure better communication among ISTM nurses and opens new avenues of opportunity:
- to interact with your colleagues around the world
- to work on behalf of ISTM initiatives
- to join other committees and task forces of the society
- to have your voice heard within our large and growing organisation