Shirley Kirnon
Effective decontamination is a vital aspect of infection prevention and control, and has a crucial role in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs). Various decontamination methods can be used in healthcare settings to ensure that medical devices, equipment and the clinical environment are safe. It is essential for nurses and other healthcare staff to have adequate knowledge of the decontamination methods and infection prevention and control practices required to prevent HCAIs. This article discusses the most common HCAIs, decontamination methods that can be used, and relevant UK legislation, policies and guidance...
March 11, 2024: Nursing Standard
Marlon Bernardo
Arterial blood gas (ABG) analysis is a fundamental skill in healthcare practice, particularly when caring for acutely unwell or deteriorating patients. It can be useful in the assessment of patients' acid-base balance and gas exchange, thereby informing appropriate care and management. However, many nurses find interpreting ABG results challenging. This article outlines a simplified approach to ABG analysis using three main values - pH, partial pressure of carbon dioxide and bicarbonate - and applying the RoMe ('Respiratory opposite, Metabolic equal') technique...
March 6, 2024: Nursing Standard
Kay Norman
Effective communication within nursing and multiprofessional healthcare teams is essential to promote patient safety. However, communication is a complex concept comprising various elements and variables that affect how messages are delivered, received and interpreted. In this article, the author explores communication within healthcare teams and provides some insight into the factors that affect team communication, such as interpersonal relationships. The author also explores organisational culture and cultural sensitivity, and discusses some evidence-based approaches to enhancing communication within healthcare teams...
March 4, 2024: Nursing Standard
Eleanor Squires, Lisa Whiting, Julia Petty
The effects of climate change, such as air pollution and extreme heat events, can adversely affect the physical and mental health of children and young people at all ages. This article explores the effects of climate change on children and young people's development and explains the effects of air pollution and heatwaves on their health. The article also discusses how children and young people are knowledgeable and concerned about the effects of climate change and can offer new perspectives on addressing these effects...
February 29, 2024: Nursing Standard
James Woodall, Louisa Morley
Inequalities in people's health due to economic or social circumstances remain a persistent challenge in the UK, with people from disadvantaged communities disproportionately likely to die earlier and experience more health issues than the general population. Health promotion has a vital role in reversing health inequalities and requires a focus on structural and political-level determinants of health, rather than individuals' lifestyle choices. However, while health promotion is a significant aspect of nurse education curricula, individual nurses may experience role confusion regarding the application of health promotion in their practice...
February 26, 2024: Nursing Standard
Matthew Wynn
The digital revolution has significantly altered healthcare, including communicable disease control, with online spaces emerging as vital tools in preventing, identifying and controlling the spread of diseases. However, healthcare professionals, including nurses, need to find a balance between harnessing the benefits of mass communication and mitigating the potentially harmful effects of online misinformation. This article explores the benefits and challenges of using online spaces such as social media platforms in the control of communicable diseases and discusses the potential use of telehealth in reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infection and antimicrobial resistance...
February 19, 2024: Nursing Standard
Sara Morgan
The UK is experiencing a nursing shortage, making it challenging to maintain the staffing levels required to deliver effective patient care. One way of enhancing the care delivered by the existing workforce could be to optimise nurse productivity; however, previous efforts to do this have been largely ineffective, due in part to a focus on the processes of care delivery rather than the nursing activities within these processes. In this article, the author explores the concept of nurse productivity and suggests that enhancing productivity requires the identification of nursing activities and consideration of how these may be undertaken in a more time-efficient manner - or removed altogether...
February 12, 2024: Nursing Standard
Jadzia Moss, Stuart Roberts
Socially constructed gender norms influence people's access to, and experience of, healthcare. Gender norms can negatively affect the health of women, men and people with other gender identities, such as transgender or non-binary individuals. Person-centred care and shared decision-making, which are widely recognised as essential aspects of healthcare, could be effective approaches for enhancing gender equality in healthcare for women. However, many women appear to receive suboptimal person-centred care. Additionally, there is a lack of representation of diverse gender identities in research, as well as a lack of awareness of diverse gender identities among nurses and other healthcare professionals...
January 29, 2024: Nursing Standard
Diana Finney, Patricia Cornell, Lisa Howie, Louise Parker, Ruth Wylie, Polly Livermore
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) competency framework for rheumatology nurses was developed in 2020. As part of the framework proposal, a service evaluation was planned following the framework's roll-out to determine its usefulness and acceptability. The aim of this evaluation was to explore rheumatology nurse specialists' answers to the research question: 'What was your experience of using the RCN's rheumatology competency framework?' A total of 14 rheumatology nurse specialists were interviewed and shared their opinions regarding the competency framework...
January 22, 2024: Nursing Standard
Julie Gregory
Communication is a process of sharing information and developing relationships through interaction. It is essential for nursing care, providing a basis for nurses to establish therapeutic relationships and trust with patients and their families. It is often assumed that nurses can intuitively communicate well; as a result, traditionally there has been a lack of formal training in this area. However, communication is a skill that can be developed and enhanced. This article explains the elements of communication and discusses the skills required by nurses to communicate effectively and provide compassionate, person-centred care...
January 2, 2024: Nursing Standard
Francesca Purvis, Jasmine Snowden
Anorexia nervosa is a challenging and highly distressing illness associated with significant and often debilitating symptoms that affect the person's physical and mental well-being, as well as their wider social networks. Although some patients can make important steps in their recovery in the community, many will become significantly unwell and require medical stabilisation and refeeding in an acute medical ward as a result of significant weight loss. This article describes some of the challenges experienced by adult nurses when caring for patients with anorexia nervosa on acute medical wards and explores how the patient's distress may manifest and complicate the recovery process...
December 28, 2023: Nursing Standard
Christopher Francis Barber
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that is characterised by features such as persistent differences in social interaction and communication, specialised interests and sensory processing issues. It has been identified that autistic people are increasingly likely to experience various mental health issues, and often encounter challenges in accessing appropriate healthcare and a lack of understanding from healthcare professionals. This article explores the co-occurrence of autism and mental health issues in adults, and explains the role of nurses in providing care and support for this population...
December 18, 2023: Nursing Standard
Anita Duffy
Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse presents complex ethical challenges. By knowing what counts as adult abuse, recognising the signs of adult abuse and appropriately addressing suspected adult abuse, nurses contribute to protecting patients' safety, well-being, autonomy and dignity. This article discusses categories and indicators of adult abuse, relevant legislation and standards, the principles of adult safeguarding and the key elements of a nursing assessment of suspected adult abuse. The author highlights that nurses need to approach safeguarding concerns sensitively and strike a balance between acting to safeguard the person and preserving their right to autonomy...
December 15, 2023: Nursing Standard
Lucille Kelsall-Knight, Rhian Stevens
Person-centred care involves nurses working in partnership with patients to ensure their needs and preferences are at the centre of their healthcare, as well as considering the biographical and social factors that are relevant to the person's health. This aims to support patients in developing the knowledge, confidence and skills to make informed decisions about treatment and to manage their own care where possible. This article discusses the concept of person-centred care and considers some of the facilitators and barriers that may affect its implementation in healthcare practice...
December 14, 2023: Nursing Standard
Vanna Navales, Tracey Bowden, Rosalie Magboo
Stroke is a complication that can occur in patients who have undergone cardiac surgery and can lead to life-threatening consequences. The causes of post-operative stroke following cardiac surgery are varied, and it is essential to identify patients who are at risk to support early recognition and effective management. Nurses caring for patients following cardiac surgery should understand the causes of stroke, risk factors, preventive measures, early recognition and treatment. A multidisciplinary approach is crucial in ensuring effective therapeutic interventions and optimising outcomes for patients who have experienced stroke following cardiac surgery...
December 11, 2023: Nursing Standard
Heather Newton
Cellulitis is an acute bacterial infection that affects the deep dermis and surrounding subcutaneous tissue. Although it is a common condition, it is often misdiagnosed because it can mimic a range of conditions that also cause inflamed, red, irritated and painful skin. Such misdiagnoses may lead to unnecessary hospital admissions and antibiotic overuse, with most alternative diagnoses being non-infectious. Undertaking a holistic patient assessment, skin assessment and thorough clinical history is important in the diagnosis of cellulitis, and it is vital to use a collaborative multidisciplinary approach in its acute management and to prevent recurrence...
December 4, 2023: Nursing Standard
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
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