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Autoimmune Diseases - Conference for Nurses

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000

Autoimmune diseases are common and can lead to chronic suffering and poor quality of life if not properly managed. Attend this conference and find out:

  • What is known about the causes of autoimmune disease
  • Why are autoimmune diseases are more prevalent in women?
  • What modern treatments are on the horizon?
  • Common side effects of current treatments
  • What works to prevent ‘flare ups’
  • How to support people with chronic conditions


Schedule Day One



Welcome and Introduction


Michelle Graham

A Day in My Shoes - Living with Inflammatory Arthritis

Imagine waking up every morning with so many joints in your body stiff and sore? This introductory session tells the story directly from a woman who lives with a severe autoimmune condition everyday of her life. It will demonstrate just how important it is for nurses to be knowledgeable about these conditions. Here from the patient’s perspective and gain understanding of:

  • What is the daily impact of life with an autoimmune condition?
  • What went well during a recent encounter with a healthcare professional?
  • What could be changed to improve this interaction in the future?


Dr Tony Kenna

Autoimmune Diseases - 80 Conditions and Growing

One in 20 Australians now have an autoimmune disease, which are the third largest burden of disease after cancer and cardiac illness. In this introductory session we will broadly consider, what goes wrong in autoimmune conditions? Includes:

  • What is a normal immune response?
  • What goes wrong in autoimmunity?
  • What is the difference between localised (organ specific) and systemic autoimmune conditions?
  • What are the main types of autoimmune diseases?
  • Are they preventable or treatable - a big picture view?
  • What predictions can be made regarding a person’s susceptibility?
  • Why do treatments work better on some people?



Linda Bradbury

Inflammatory Arthritis - Update for Nurses

Inflammatory arthritis describes a group of conditions that affect the body’s immune system. These autoimmune diseases can causes a range of progressive disabilities. This session begins to look at the three most common inflammatory arthritis conditions - rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Includes:

  • What are known to be causes of these conditions and are they preventable?
  • Does early recognition prevent deterioration?
  • What are the characteristics and clinical features of these conditions?
  • Why and how do these conditions affect other body systems?
  • Nursing management and considerations
  • Non pharmacological approaches
  • Role of the nurse within a multidisciplinary team




Autoimmune Thyroid Disease - Metabolic Meltdown?

When the thyroid gland becomes the target of an autoimmune attack, excess or deficient amounts of thyroid hormones can cause a metabolic meltdown. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s Disease disease are types of autoimmune thyroid diseases. This session will bring you up to speed on the following:

  • What are these conditions and how do they present?
  • Who is most susceptible and why?
  • Why is their an autoimmune link?
  • What is the latest in research?
  • What does this mean for prevention and treatment?




Linking the Gut, Nutrition and Autoimmune Conditions

Unfortunately having one autoimmune condition can often lead to other autoimmune conditions developing. In the case of autoimmune thyroid disease has a strong connection with coeliac disease. As well, many other autoimmune conditions can cause gastrointestinal manifestations. This session will explain:

  • What is the connection between autoimmune conditions and the gut?
  • How do autoimmune conditions cause overlapping gastrointestinal symptoms?
  • Why does gluten trigger an autoimmune response?
  • Evidence behind practical strategies for management and support e.g.
    • Dietary changes
    • Prebiotics and probiotics


Day Two




Multiple Sclerosis and The Autoimmune System - What Do We Know?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks various structures within the central nervous system such as myelin. Exciting research coming out of Brisbane is helping scientists to learn more about why this occurs. This session will shed light on the following:

  • What is thought to cause MS?
  • What is the link between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and MS?
  • What do our cholesterol levels and weight have to do with MS?
  • How is MS linked to other autoimmune conditions?
  • Can stressful life events trigger MS?
  • Predicting and managing the progression of MS - what’s new?



Biologic Agents - Nursing Considerations

Biologic agents are now being used more frequently for the treatment of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. These medicines affect the immune system and as such there are a range of considerations that nurses must be aware of when caring for patients who are taking these agents, even in the context of being hospitalised or treated for other conditions. This session will discuss common issues relating to biologics that are most relevant to nurses. Includes:

  • What are biologic agents?
  • Why are these agents used?
  • What are common side effects?
  • Are there certain considerations when ceasing these medications?



Dr Emma Hamilton-Williams

Type I Diabetes - Discovering Why the Immune System Destructs

While there is currently no cure for type 1 diabetes, ongoing research and modern technologies are constantly advancing. In this session, an overview of the autoimmune mechanisms known to cause type I diabetes will be discussed. Includes:

  • What genetic factors predispose a person to type I diabetes?
  • Are their common triggers that set off autoimmune events?
  • What is the link between gut microbiome and type I diabetes?
  • A look at treatments other than insulin - antigen-based therapy
  • Update on current and future trials


Linda Bradbury

Preventing Flare-ups and Deterioration

Flare-ups are enormously distressing for people with chronic autoimmune disease. Often, a flare-up can render the person worse off in the long term. Unexpected consequences of the flare-up such as falls, scarring and new medicine side effects can seriously undermine a person’s confidence about their health. This session includes:

  • What are the main triggers for flare-ups?
  • The importance of empowering a patient to self-manage their condition
  • Swiftly managing a flare-up to prevent stepwise deterioration



Dr Tony Kenna

Breaking News! New Research on the Horizon

Emerging research on autoimmune conditions represent some of the most exciting scientific breakthroughs to date. In this session you will discover:

  • What are the principal aims of research into autoimmune diseases?
  • What have been some of the major discoveries in recent times?
  • What other developments are on the horizon?



Jane Stanfield

Personal Resilience in the Face of Chronic Illness – Gaining Strength from Vulnerability

Personal resilience is an incredible foundation to fall back on. Increasing personal resilience is a strategy for surviving and thriving in the face of long term health challenges. This final session looks at how a nurse can develop professional rapport with a person affected by lifelong chronic illness and in turn promote resilience. Includes:

  • How can neuroplasticity help us understand resilience?
  • What impact do our belief and value systems play in building and staying resilient?
  • How can nurses encourage and build resilience in patients?
  • How does this relate to healing and patient satisfaction?


The Goal Need for Program

There are more than 80 known autoimmune diseases which affect as many as 1 in 20 people in Australia. Autoimmune thyroid disease, type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis are common conditions. The inflammatory characteristic of autoimmune diseases can have cascading effects on other body organs. Nurses are therefore, likely to care for people with an autoimmune condition frequently within their practice. As the science behind the disease is rapidly evolving, treatments and the delivery of care must adapt accordingly.

Purpose of Program

The purpose of this conference is to explore current knowledge relating to autoimmune diseases and relate this to best nursing practice.

Your learning outcomes:

Use your understanding of the connection between inflammation and autoimmune diseases to enhance your delivery of care

Link the known course of the autoimmune disease to nursing care which maximises the patients quality of life

Correlate long term pharmaceutical treatments against potential risks to improve patient outcomes

Identify potential triggers and initiate early interventions to prevent ‘flare ups’


Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

I live a full life with Psoriatic Arthritis. I am a mother, a quilter, a wife, a thinker and a ...Read More

Tony Kenna

Tony Kenna

Dr Tony Kenna is a cellular immunologist and a Senior Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology. His research career ... Read More

Linda Bradbury

Linda Bradbury

Linda Bradbury is a Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner. Linda completed her general nurse training in London. After working in general medicine, ... Read More

Emma Hamilton-Williams

Emma Hamilton-Williams

Dr Emma Hamilton-Williams is a Research Fellow at the Diamantina Institute. Dr Hamilton-Williams holds a Career Development Fellowship from the ... Read More

Jane Stanfield

Jane Stanfield

Jane Stanfield is a Health Service Improvement Coach. She comes with 30 years’ experience in health care, half as a ...Read More

To Be Determined

To Be Determined


Autoimmune Diseases - Conference for Nurses
Speciality Classification
Interest Areas
Provider Type
11 hours
Start Date
End Date
11 hours
Price Details
$693.00 (two days)
Brisbane City QLD 4000
Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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