The breast course for nurse: discussion about advocacy

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we finished the Cape Town breast course for nurses.  The last 3 days consolidate the theory learnt over the preceding 6 months.  On Wednesday, we divided into 4 groups.  Biopsy and sonar techniques were demonstrated (and practised on chicken breasts and fruit).  Downstairs, there was a workshop on breast imaging.  In the afternoon, Sister Yvonne Jackman from St Luke's Hospice discussed terminal care cases with us.

On Thursday, the main part of the day was spent on lymphoedema management. Colleen Marco, Carola Schoonheim and Isla Muhl explained the theory behind lympheoedema management and showed us bandaging techniques to help alleviate the symptoms.

We started the last day with a gala breakfast at the hospital.  It allowed me the thank all our sponsors and all the health professionals who gave their time freely so we could run the course.  Our main sponsors were represented at the breakfast: Chris Tilney from Netcare, Dr Nauta from Care Cross, Jean-Claude from Blue Spier and Carol from WWD.  Bard spent the day with us on Wednesday.

The remainder of the day was spent discussing community activities.  Linda Greef, PLWC (People living with Cancer) led the discussion.  We spent sometime discussing what we mean by ADVOCACY.  It is a word that is used very freely without much thought a to what it means.

As defined by Linda, it means identifying problems and campaigning for changes to address the them.  As defined by Wikipaedia, it is: "political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions."  The free online dictionary defines advocacy as : "The act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support."

I like Linda's definition.  Too much time is spent by many organisations trying to solve problems that either don't exist or will make no difference to the intended cohort.  TIME MUST BE SPENT RESEARCHING AND DEFINING THE PROBLEM before advocating for change.

Do you think the word advocacy should be redefined?


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