ISF Dermatology Study Day 2016

The ISF held its first Dermatology Study Day for Nurses and Pharmacists on 16th April in the Ashling Hotel, Dublin. The programme was aimed at health care professionals with an interest in dermatology and was very well received with over 80 delegates in attendance from all branches of nursing, pharmacy, general practice and even dentistry.

We were very pleased to welcome so many people with a genuine interest in learning more about dermatology. The primary objective of the Study Day was to offer health care professionals a learning opportunity which would enhance their existing skillset when faced with dermatological conditions in the community – ultimately helping members of the public to manage their skin condition.

Dr Mark Wheeler, GP and Board Member of the Irish Skin Foundation, who chaired the meeting, commended the high calibre of speakers, the varied programme topics and the standard of presentations at the event.

The programme commenced with Dr Anne-Marie Tobin, Consultant Dermatologist Tallaght Hospital, who provided an update on psoriasis. She spoke about treatment options, the complications associated with the disease such as heart disease, obesity, depression and psoriatic arthritis. There have been significant developments in the treatment of psoriasis in recent years and new treatments are coming on stream. She commented that new treatments for eczema are slower to come on the market, however research is ongoing.

Kelly Impey, Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) in Dermatology spoke about topical treatments in common skin disease, and acknowledged that fear of using topical steroids results in poor adherence to medications, which in turn results in the need to prescribe a stronger steroid. She emphasised the importance of using a steroid regularly and as prescribed, for best results. Patients need not be afraid to use them as directed. “Apply sparingly” does not mean using almost nothing! She also stressed the importance of emollient therapy (moisturising), and the importance of a patient finding products that they like and will therefore use regularly.

Michelle Greenwood, CNS in Dermatology spoke about dermatology issues in woundcare. If an ulcer or wound is not healing, it should be seen by a dermatologist – it may have other implications and may not be just an ulcer.

Karen Keegan, CNS in Paediatric Dermatology at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin spoke about common paediatric skin problems and offered useful tips for managing troublesome nappy rash and cradle cap – problems that every mother comes across at some stage. Karen also spoke about the revolutionary change in the treatment of haemangiomas with propranolol which has been life changing for these children and their parents.

Sheila Ryan, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Dermatology (ANP) at University Hospital Limerick, gave a presentation on common benign skin lesions and a range of appropriate treatments at primary care level. She reiterated that if a lesion is not responding to treatment as expected, it should be assessed by a doctor.

Finally, Dr Patrick Ormond spoke about the sun and the skin. He pointed out the need for Vitamin D for our health, and that because we do not get enough vitamin D from the sun in Ireland, we need to be sure to get plenty from our diet, or consider Vitamin D supplements (particularly in the winter months). For proper sun protection we need to use Factor 50 sun cream. Most people only apply enough sun cream to give them the equivalent of Factor 7. We need to apply 30g to the body and a teaspoon to the face two hourly (put in shot glass and tea spoon picture for body and face). His final message was to protect our skin and to highlight the importance of inspecting our skin for changes regularly.

All in all, the event was a huge success and is set to become an annual even on the Irish Skin Foundation calendar. The next Dermatology Study Day will take place in spring 2017 when we hope that it will be an even bigger success.