Lauren Elizabeth Palk
Migraine is a common neurological disorder characterised by a severe, pulsating headache, sometimes accompanied with photophobia or phonophobia and nausea and/or vomiting. The symptoms of migraine can have a significant adverse effect on a person's ability to undertake normal activities. Nurses have an important role in assisting patients in identifying migraine triggers and in supporting them to manage the symptoms of migraines through lifestyle changes and pharmacological treatments. This article describes different types of migraines and some differential diagnoses and 'red flag' symptoms that could indicate a more serious condition...
November 23, 2023: Nursing Standard
Andrew Parry
Many nurses will care for a patient who requires oxygen therapy, either to treat an acute respiratory condition, such as a lung infection, or a chronic condition, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This article discusses the physiology of gaseous exchange and provides an overview of some of the main respiratory conditions that may result in the need for oxygen therapy. The author also describes the oxygen delivery devices commonly used in clinical practice, such as simple face masks and nasal cannulas, to assist nurses in selecting the most appropriate device...
November 20, 2023: Nursing Standard
Ali Richards
In a challenging global healthcare climate, new workforce models are required to address the ongoing shortfall in the number of nurses. One way of addressing the workforce crisis in the NHS has been to introduce the roles of nursing associate and assistant practitioner, which are designed to support registered healthcare professionals in their work and 'bridge the gap' between registered professionals and support workers. This article examines the leadership skills required of nurses when seeking to embed these roles in practice, and the leadership skills assistant practitioners and nursing associates themselves need to take their place in the team...
November 14, 2023: Nursing Standard
Joanna Blackburn, Karen Ousey
Skin tears, defined as traumatic wounds caused by mechanical forces, can be debilitating for individuals, causing pain and reduced mobility. Although skin tears can develop throughout the lifespan, older age can make the skin increasingly susceptible to this type of injury. Studies have found wide variation in the incidence and prevalence of skin tears, in part because of suboptimal recognition and reporting practices among healthcare professionals. Effective prevention of skin tears requires a standardised approach to risk assessment, prevention, recognition and classification, such as that offered by the International Skin Tear Advisory Panel (ISTAP) best practice recommendations...
November 13, 2023: Nursing Standard
Chris Carter, Joy Notter
Neurological observations are an essential aspect of assessment in patients with altered mental status and require the nurse to collect and analyse information using a validated assessment tool. Assessing a patient's pupil size and response is also an important element of a neurological assessment. This article summarises the pathophysiology of raised intracranial pressure and lists some of the conditions that may contribute to an alteration in a patient's mental status. The article details the use of two commonly used neurological assessment tools and the assessment of a patient's pupil size and response...
November 6, 2023: Nursing Standard
Tracey Bowden, Rosalie Magboo, Vanna Navales
Despite recent technological advances in the field of surgery, neurological complications remain a significant post-operative issue. Two of the most common post-operative complications are delirium and post-operative cognitive decline, which occur frequently after cardiac surgery. This article provides an overview of delirium and post-operative cognitive decline, including risk factors, signs and symptoms, and diagnosis. The author also considers the nurse's role in managing patients who are at risk of, or have experienced, delirium or post-operative cognitive decline after cardiac surgery...
October 16, 2023: Nursing Standard
Penny Tremayne, Lorna de Bourg
Nurses experience a range of challenges in their practice that can adversely affect their well-being, for example work-related stress and workforce issues. These challenges may have been intensified by various factors, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and shift working. This article considers the concept of well-being and explores nurses' well-being in the context of ongoing stressors and workforce issues. It also examines some of the effects of shift work on nurses' well-being and how these could be mitigated...
October 16, 2023: Nursing Standard
Jonathan Williams
Healthcare organisations implement a range of staff well-being initiatives and increasingly focus on compassionate leadership. While formal interventions aimed at maintaining and enhancing staff well-being can be beneficial, they have practical limitations, such as staff turnover and challenges in meeting demand. Therefore, everyday conversations between nurses in leadership positions and their team members also have an important role in supporting staff well-being. One psychological model that nurse leaders may wish to use is acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which involves techniques such as mindfulness, acceptance and values clarification...
October 9, 2023: Nursing Standard
Helen Rees, Nutmeg Hallett
Reducing the number of deaths by suicide is an important area in public health. Several factors, including excessive workload demands and burnout, mean that healthcare staff such as nurses are at higher risk of death by suicide compared with people working in other occupations. This article explores the contributory factors involved in suicide among healthcare professionals and outlines some of the methods that nurses can use to enquire about suicide risk with their colleagues. It also details appropriate interventions that nurses can use to reduce the risk of suicide among their colleagues...
October 2, 2023: Nursing Standard
Sara Stevenson-Baker
Providing person-centred care that takes into account each patient's individual needs and priorities is crucial at the end of life. Nurses need to be aware of the main aspects of person-centred care, such as supporting shared decision-making, developing therapeutic nurse-patient relationships, and considering the patient's physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs. This article discusses the concept of person-centred care in the context of providing end of life care to patients and their families...
September 25, 2023: Nursing Standard
Marwan Hamad, Russell Gurbutt
Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered essential to nursing practice, but it is unclear how best to support nursing students to develop EI skills. This article details a literature review that was undertaken to explore EI in preregistration nurse education and to identify effective methods for developing nursing students' EI skills. A total of 12 articles were included in the review, from which data were extracted, compared and categorised. Three main areas were identified regarding EI in preregistration nurse education: EI constructs, EI components and EI teaching methods...
September 21, 2023: Nursing Standard
Robert Shelswell, Joanne Watson
As part of a project to review the delivery of healthcare services in Torbay and South Devon, England, the author undertook a literature review focusing on the specialty of men's health. Men have a shorter life expectancy than women and this discrepancy is particularly pronounced in areas of social deprivation such as those found in the coastal and rural communities of the author's locality. The concept of men's health is complex, and this literature review identified five main themes that can have a significant influence on the delivery of healthcare services for men: masculinity, ethnicity, mental health, relevance of place, and access to services...
September 18, 2023: Nursing Standard
Jennie Walker
Surgical site infections (SSIs) are commonly reported healthcare-acquired infections that can have a detrimental effect on patient outcomes and quality of life. SSIs are associated with longer periods of hospitalisation and increased patient morbidity and mortality. A rigorous approach is required to identify and manage the risk of infection across the preoperative, intraoperative and post-operative phases of care. This article describes the causes of, risk factors for development and signs and symptoms of SSIs...
September 11, 2023: Nursing Standard
Samantha Holloway, Jenny Prentice, Ray Samuriwo
Skin tears are acute wounds caused by mechanical forces resulting in the separation of the skin's outer layers. Skin tears are more likely to occur in vulnerable people such as older people and people with neurodegenerative conditions. Rising life expectancy means that the number of patients with skin tears is expected to increase. This article describes the characteristics of skin tears, details the risk factors for skin tears and explains the importance of using a holistic, evidence-based and person-centred approach to skin tear prevention, assessment and treatment...
September 4, 2023: Nursing Standard
Sally Porter
Kidney disease is a common occurrence and alters how the body processes many drugs. Therefore, prescribers must consider the person's renal function before prescribing medicines and may need to amend the dose of renally excreted drugs. At present, there is limited data regarding dose adjustment in renal impairment, so prescribers require knowledge of pharmacokinetics. Prescribers also need to understand how the kidneys process drugs when functioning normally to be able to predict how renal impairment may affect pharmacokinetics...
November 1, 2023: Nursing Standard
Katrin Lehmann
Gender-diverse individuals will need to access healthcare services for various reasons, with most of this care provided outside of specialist gender services. Nurses have an important role in advocating for the specific needs of gender-diverse individuals and providing person-centred care. Therefore, they have a responsibility to ensure their knowledge of appropriate terminology and gender-affirming interventions is up to date. This article provides information about gender diversity to enhance nurses' understanding of this area to enable them to care for gender-diverse people effectively and sensitively...
August 31, 2023: Nursing Standard
Martin Galligan
Neuropathic pain results from damage to the nerves. It affects many in the general population, but its prevalence is higher in certain groups, for example those who have undergone certain procedures or systemic anti-cancer therapy and people with conditions such as diabetes mellitus, viral infections or central nervous system disorders. Regardless of the cause, neuropathic pain can have significant adverse effects on people's quality of life, so nurses need to be able to conduct a holistic pain assessment that incorporates physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects...
August 29, 2023: Nursing Standard
Helen Layton, Penny Tremayne, Wendy Norton
Attending to one's personal hygiene is a private and ritualistic act that is linked to self-expression and is important for one's well-being and self-esteem. Providing effective support with personal hygiene to patients can demonstrate thoughtfulness and sensitivity to their individual needs. Nurses in all fields of nursing may encounter patients who identify as transgender, but many nurses have expressed concerns about their lack of knowledge and confidence in that area of care. This article discusses the use of gender-affirming language and the factors to consider when supporting transgender patients with their personal hygiene as part of personalised, equitable and inclusive nursing care...
August 21, 2023: Nursing Standard
Helena Jackson
Malnutrition is common in patients with kidney disease, and can exacerbate the individual and economic burden of the condition. The identification of malnutrition is essential to inform management interventions and improve patient outcomes, and nutrition screening can be considered the first stage in this process. The development of simple nutrition screening tools has assisted nurses in undertaking widespread, rapid assessments of patients' malnutrition risk. However, generic tools may not be appropriate or accurate in patients with kidney disease...
August 7, 2023: Nursing Standard
Lucie Nield, Simon David Bowles
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among various groups in the UK, and can result from insufficient sunlight exposure and dietary intake. There is a population-wide recommendation of 10 micrograms (400 international units) of vitamin D per day, with a daily supplement advised. However, supplement use is often suboptimal, compounding the risk of deficiency. Long-term vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in adults. Therefore, it is important that nurses recognise which groups are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and understand how to assess people's vitamin D status...
August 2, 2023: Nursing Standard
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