CoNSA members work in diverse roles, in remote, rural, regional and metropolitan areas of Australia to provide specialist advice to individuals with incontinence and bladder and bowel dysfunction across the lifespan. CoNSA members offer expertise across a range of different health settings and specialist areas, including but not limited to: women's health (i.e. gynaecology, midwifery), men's health (i.e. urology), paediatric health, community care, aged care, acute care, rehabilitation (i.e. spinal cord injury), disability etc. Other members work in areas of health promotion, nursing education and research. Many members manage and coordinate the activities of outpatient continence services. Most of CoNSA's members hold the title of either Continence Nurse Advisor (CNA) or Continence Nurse Consultant (CNC) and hold an range of post graduate qualifications. The role of CNC is recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia as a nurse who is working at an advanced practice level, which is usually accompanied by a high degree of professional autonomy.
CoNSA was originally known as the Australian Nurses for Continence (ANFC) the name was changed in 2012 to bring it in line with its new constitution.
The Continence Nurses Society Australia (CoNSA) as ANFC was established in 1991 to be the national voice for the Australian state and territory based continence nursing special interest groups:
NSW & ACT: Continence Nurses Society Australia, New South Wales Branch Inc
QLD: Continence Nurses Society Australia, Queensland Branch Inc - Qld
Vic & Tas: Continence Nurses Society Australia, Victorian and Tasmanian Branch
SA, NT, & WA: Continence Nurses Society Australia, South Australian, Northern Territory and Western Australian Branch Inc
All state or territory based continence nursing special interest group members are also members of CoNSA.
The purpose of CoNSA is to act as a national professional voice for all nurse members of the State and Territory continence nursing bodies. Continence nurses are nurses who have a specialist knowledge and skill in continence care.
CoNSA is a national professional interest group of nurses and midwives who have specialist knowledge and skill in continence care. Continence nurses provide services, which are an integral part of an interdisciplinary approach to the care of people who have either or both bladder and bowel problems, incontinence.
CoNSA supports its’ membership through advocacy, policy development, research, education, and establishment of clinical practice standards, CoNSA promotes continence across Australia.
CoNSA will establish and maintain a national body for continence nursing in Australia by promoting excellence in continence care though a highly authoritative and active profile.
Represent the interests of nurses and midwives in continence care
Promote and advocate the role of specialist continence nurse
Develop, share and sustain quality governance processes that can be used by all organisations with a continence service
Provide a comprehensive and useful information sharing service to members
Develop positive and productive relationships with all levels of government and non-government organisations, industry, professional and consumer organisations
Promote and disseminate evidence-based continence care that places the person with continence needs and their family at the centre of the care
Advocate for people with incontinence and other bladder and bowel concerns, their families, carers and unregulated workers
Provide, support and promote professional ongoing education on continence care
Contribute to policy on continence care
Promote research that will contribute to evidence based practice for continence care.
CoNSA has established a number of Sub Committees. These Sub Committees have been created to further the work of CoNSA with a focus on specific areas, namely:
Finance Resources, Sponsorship and Fundraising Sub Committee. Chair: Vicki Patton
Presidents' Sub Committee. Chair: Joanne Dean
Professional Issues and Education Sub Committee. Chairs: Dr Joan Ostaszkiewicz & Elizabeth Watt
Communication Sub Committee. Chairs: Julie Westaway & Colin Cassells
Some members of CoNSA have made a particularly outstanding and sustained contribution to the advancement of Continence Nursing in Australia. In recognition of this contribution, CoNSA may award such members with honorary Life Membership.
Life members of CoNSA are:
Diane O’Donald- NSW
Dr Jan Paterson - SA/NT/WA
Leigh Pretty - SA/NT/WA
Rhonda Wheeldon - Vic/Tas
Janette Williams - NSW
Kay Bews Bundle - Vic/Tas
Rhonda Brownlow - NSW
Dr Susan Hunt - Vic/Tas
Kay Josephs - Qld
Cheryl Meade - NSW
Pat Miers - Qld