Advancing paediatric surgery through education and research
National Neonatal Surgical Interest Group (NNSIG)
The NNSIG is a collaboration of innovative and dynamic nurses and AHPs who are dedicated to providing high-quality care to infants with congenital conditions requiring specialist surgical management. The NNSIG is a non-statutory group, originally formed in 2003 and run voluntarily. The group, previously all nurses was called ‘National neonatal surgical benchmarking group’. Following rebranding to NNSIG in 2020 with a change to our focus, broadening the scope of the members but continuing to focus on developing best practice guidance. It became apparent the inclusivity of the wider MDT including AHP’s and surgeons from across the UK and Ireland was paramount. The group supports the development and review of care provision, guidelines, clinical skills development, education and, we are involved in national research.
Purpose of NNSIG
The surgical neonate has complex needs, that need to be managed at one of the 26 paediatric surgical centres. These services often work in isolation, with some nursing procedures and plans for care relying purely on anecdotal evidence or a surgeon’s preference. The procedures and nursing care required for these surgical infants are unique to this patient group. The group was established to address the lack of specialist education nationally for the nurses caring for these infants. The group provides support and addresses the lack of specialist education nationally for specialist nurses and the MDT caring for surgical neonates.
Our focus from 2021 has moved from benchmarking care standards to the development of best practice guidance. As a group we have supported the development and review of care provision, guidelines, clinical skills development, education, and involvement in national research. We are in a period of further growth, development and engagement with the wider MDT and national organisations.
We have embedded bi-annual, whole day, meetings. These meetings are hosted in different surgical centres across the country. We prioritise half the day for education, sharing good practice, lessons learnt and ensure continued updates on national practice and standards in neonatal surgical care. The other half of the day focuses on best practice guidance development, any topical issues, research, and next plans for the group.
We support our surgical centre members through collaborative education and information sharing in relation to equipment and medical device procurement e.g. silos, gastrostomies, feed pumps, rectal washout tubes, dressings and much more. Such industries have supported/ sponsored our study days in the past, we work closely with them helping to provide an effective neonatal surgical service.
We have very good links with national charity organisations e.g. TOFS, CDHUK, NECUK, SHINE and they have supported and attended our meetings helping to ensure the voice of families are included are always the priority in all our objectives. The neonatal surgical infant and family is at the heart of the care we strive to provide. We have representative in 23 surgical centres across the UK and Northern Ireland.
Membership is currently free and needs to be formally requested via our chairperson on email [email protected].
Chairperson: Fiona Metcalfe
There is a committee of: chairperson, treasurer, social media support, link members to our associate groups, plus whole group involvement. We ask for agreement to support collaboration, education, to contribute and attend meetings and support focused developments as agreed by the group. We are currently encouraging more members to join from AHP teams– dieticians, SALT, OT, Physio, pharmacy, and surgeon involvement plus members from any outstanding neonatal/paediatric surgical centres, NICUs, PICUs or those who care for such neonates.
As an associate group of BAPS, we hope to continue our groups development and collaboration with paediatric surgeons and the whole MDT nationally so we can ensure we are joined up in our approach to best practice, service specifications, standards, outcomes and education provision for surgical neonates, their families and all staff involved in their pathway.