PESSARIES Course New Zealand
  • Clinically relevant – you leave the course with the ability to objectively measure POP, assess the vaginal mucosa using speculum examinations, and pessary fitting skills (ring, cube and Gellhorn).
  • We give you templates and tracking system to enable immediate application of pessary management into your clinic to ensure you are meeting the needs of your patients and your business.
  • Multiple practical sessions (6+hrs) using peer-to-peer learning to embed the skills learnt on the course.
  • Taught by experienced clinician and trainer Dr Melissa Davidson, a registered specialist physiotherapist in pelvic health.
The "Pessary Course" activity in Auckland, New Zealand has been endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP) and has been approved for up to 16 CME credits for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) purposes. Credits are for active Fellows of the College only.
Two days in-person in Auckland, 21/22 September 2024.
Course Content
This advanced course is focused on teaching you how to conservatively manage pelvic organ prolapse, including how to assess the patient, select the pessary, and fit the appropriate pessary. The course is evidence informed but also very clinically focused, to give you the ability to step into the role of fitting pessaries with all the information and support you will need. You will have multiple practical sessions during the course to ensure you feel clinically confident by the end of the weekend.

As part of the course, pelvic organ prolapse prevalence, risk factors, and incidence will be reviewed, alongside other conservative management strategies such as lifestyle changes/modifications, pelvic floor training, and bowel and bladder health. Surgical options for pelvic organ prolapse will be discussed. Precautions and contraindications will be discussed as well as clinical indications that suggest pessaries will be a suitable option for the patient.

Speculum use will be taught, with the focus on assessing vaginal mucosa integrity.

Objective measurements of prolapse will be taught using POP-Q staging, SPOP-Q staging, and Baden-Walker grading. Outcome measures for assessing symptoms and quality of life will also be discussed to ensure your patients' symptoms are improving with pessary use.

You will learn practical skills on how to select the pessary based on your assessment of the patients' vaginal dimensions and levator ani muscles. Fitting of the three most common pessaries used (ring, cube, and Gellhorn) will be taught and completed as part of your course practicals. We use multiple fitting kits on the course to ensure you can trial different sizes and shapes on the course in a safe environment. Your lying and standing assessments will be checked and we will review your POP assessment skills. You will be taking home three sample pessaries of different types to use for patient education.

Business and recall systems, and how to manage these within your patient management system will be discussed. Common suppliers of equipment and consumables, infection control measures, and fitting kit cleaning protocols will be provided. Patient reports, patient medical screening request form, and patient education handouts (consent, self-management, and information on pessaries) will be reviewed and samples for you to use in your clinic will be provided. Learning when and how to refer on for medical reviews when signs of complications or abnormalities will be discussed. You will also be given access to "The Beast", an Excel spreadsheet created by Simon – used for tracking all inventory related to pessary management, including supplies, fitting kit tracking, pessary tracking, and recall tracking.

As part of the post-course requirements, we will be asking you to complete a logbook of the speculum exams completed, and pessary fittings completed, a case study, a reflective statement, and a peer review. These activities will need to be completed over several months after the two-day teaching weekend. We will also be asking to see a summary of your recall system, and health and safety procedures around pessary management in your clinic. These requirements are to ensure you reach acceptable skill and safety levels in all areas of pessary management.

Once you have completed your competency documentation successfully your certificate of completion of the course will be issued.

There are limited places available on this course. Females, males, and gender diverse health professionals are invited to take part in this course. To attend this course, you must already be practicing as a pelvic health professional and experienced in performing internal vaginal examinations with patients. 'Experienced' means that you regularly perform vaginal examinations in your day-to-day clinical practice and already provide conservative management of pelvic organ prolapse. If you have just started out in this field, I recommend gaining more experience before completing this advanced course. You must be a registered health professional in good standing in New Zealand or Australia, or your home country. Registration must be with the appropriate health professional board such as Physiotherapy Board of NZ, AHPRA boards, Osteopathic Council of NZ, The Nursing Council of NZ, Medical Council of NZ, etc.

As this is a practical course which involves internal examinations, participants must be willing and able to have vaginal examinations performed on them by fellow attendees. By using peer-to-peer learning, participants gain vital learning on how it feels to be a patient, as well as a health professional, ensuring you gain well rounded experiential learning. This course allows people of all genders an opportunity to learn from each other and gain vital, practical clinical skills.

There are limited places allocated on the course for participants who have valid reasons for not being a patient model on the course. Valid reasons not to be a patient model include: First trimester pregnancy, high risk pregnancy, active vaginal infection, and no anatomical vagina. If you are unable to or unwilling to be a patient model on the course for your peers, please contact Melissa at [email protected] prior to registration for the course. Your request will be treated confidentially and if granted, at the course no details will be given to other participants as to why you are not being a model.

Dr Melissa Davidson
Melissa is the only registered Specialist Physiotherapist in Pelvic Health in New Zealand. Alongside her 33 years of clinical practice, Melissa has extensive post graduate qualifications including a PhD in Bioengineering from Auckland University, a research Masters from Melbourne University, a Diploma in Advanced Orthopaedic Manipulations from Canada, and Post Graduate Certificates in Physiotherapy in Pelvic Floor (Australia) and Acupuncture (New Zealand). She also has a Certificate in Health Science, is registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand under Specialist Scope of Practice and is a long-term member of Physiotherapy New Zealand. She is the current President of the International Organisation of Physiotherapists in Pelvic and Women's Health. Melissa is the lead author on the 'Pessary Management Recommendations for New Zealand Pelvic Health Physiotherapists', designed in consultation with content experts in physiotherapy, gynaecology, and general practice.
Fran Tague
Fran qualified as a physiotherapist in the UK in 1997. Fran's interest in women's and pelvic health began when she started her own family in 2006 and she has subsequently attended a number of courses through Women's Health Training Associates both in Australia and New Zealand; and through Pelvic Health Training by Dr Melissa Davidson. Fran has extensive experience in fitting pessaries and will be focusing on providing practical tutoring assistance on this course.
Dr Alice Pan
Dr Alice Pan is a New Zealand trained generalist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, graduating from Otago Medical School in 2005 and achieving FRANZCOG in 2017. She lives, works and plays in beautiful Rotorua with her husband and daughter. Alice believes in empowering women to take ownership of their health, by listening and offering a range of options to suit their needs. Alice may be joining us in person in Auckland or via remote link, depending on the demands of her growing family.
Simon Smith
Simon is the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and Co-Founder of Dr Melissa Davidson Pelvic Health Training. Simon uses his business and management experience to work behind the scenes dealing with the business systems of physiotherapy practices. He provides one-on-one international business consultancy with private practice owners to improve their businesses processes, cash flow, efficiency, and at the same time reduce the owners' (and employees') stress levels.
What people are saying about this course:
"Melissa and Simon always deliver on these courses. So organised, so well thought out, so thorough and informative. The theoretical and practical aspects of the course are so well balanced that it enables a true learning experience and allows one to fully grasp the content and retain all learning by putting it all into a "real experience". Having Fran's Pelvic health and Pessary and Alice's Gynaecological knowledge and experience really sets this course above and beyond. Not to mention the IT, cleaning and food extaordinaire, Simon! and how can we forget THE FOOD...always deliciously spectacular. I got so so so much out of this course and would absolutely recommend it to all who would love to learn more and become competent in the world of Pessaries."

- Tessa, Physiotherapist

"The pessary course not only gives you everything you need to be safely and competently fitting and managing pessaries, but also thorough evidence based up to date knowledge on POP."

- Sara, Physiotherapist

"I have been on a number of Melissa's courses now and they just keep getting better! This "Pessaries" course was absolutely amazing. I walked away feeling so satisfied, motivated and eager to continue my work in this field."

- Rebecca, Physiotherapist

"Highly informative and practical course - within a relaxed environment which enhances the overall learning experience. As a GP with an interest in women's health I found the skills learned essential."

- Christina, GP

"Fantastic evidence based course with robust protocols and excellent clinical application."

- Glenn, Osteopath

"Fantastic course with plenty of practical sessions and take home information to use immediately within your practice"

- Eileen, Physiotherapist, Australia

"As a PHPT confident in treating POP conservatively, I found this course wonderful in learning how to safely fit and monitor pessaries both practically and administratively."

- Kat, Physiotherapist

"Very good course. Evidence -based approach, and here in NZ. Learned to assess and fit 3 different pessaries which is great to have some options to offer."

- Natalie, Physiotherapist

Additional Information:
We will ensure the environment is private and supportive for any assessments. Informed consent is discussed in detail on the course, and you will have the ability to consent or not consent to internal examination at the time of the assessments.
If you have your period, internal examinations can still be completed. Low risk pregnancies are not a contraindication to internal examinations, however, please get in touch with Melissa to discuss prior to registering on the course as you may not be able to have pessaries fitted.
Some people may have known or unknown triggers that might cause them psychological stresses on the course. Please let Melissa know in advance if you have any known triggers so we can adjust things for you to make your learning these techniques as comfortable as possible.
Morning tea, lunch, and afternoon tea will be provided. If you have specific food requirements or allergies, we recommend you bring your own food with you.
Pre-reading and Tests:
Pre-reading will be provided to complete prior to the course starting. A pre-course test needs to be completed prior to the course to ensure the pre-reading has been completed.

There will be practical assessments during the course testing clinical assessment skills learned on the weekend to ensure at the end of the course you are competent. These are completed throughout the weekend and done in a relaxed, comfortable fashion. You will need to pass these assessments to complete the course.

A post-course test and evaluation will need to be completed immediately after the two-day course. There will also be competency documentation that needs to be completed over six months prior to you receiving your completion certificate.

$1,395 including GST for the two day course.
The course fee includes the following: three sample pessaries to use for patient education, sample letter templates (doctor reports, medical screening request, patient information on pessary management booklet, consent form, self-care information for patients), cleaning protocols, 'cheat' sheets for remembering your practical skills, and 'The Beast', an Excel spreadsheet for managing pessaries in conjunction with your PMS.

Competency documentation reviews after the course are also included along with ongoing support in a private forum for the first 6 months after the course is completed. We want to ensure this course provides a 'wrap around' support for you in your learning to ensure you are competent in pessary management.

This course is not eligible for a cashback discount for Pelvic Health CONNECT members.
2 Days In-Person in Auckland | 21/22 September 2024
Auckland Venue: Unisports 261 Morrin Road, St Johns