(1/424) The virtue of nursing: the covenant of care.
It is argued that the current confusion about the role and purpose of the British nurse is a consequence of the modern rejection and consequent fragmentation of the inherited nursing tradition. The nature of this tradition, in which nurses were inducted into the moral virtues of care, is examined and its relevance to patient welfare is demonstrated. Practical suggestions are made as to how this moral tradition might be reappropriated and reinvigorated for modern nursing. (+info
(2/424) New developments in genetics-knowledge, attitudes and information needs of practice nurses.
BACKGROUND: In response to increased referrals to geneticists and the predicted patient demand for genetic counselling, it has been proposed that some genetics services should be provided in primary care. Practice nurses are ideally placed to collect family history information and advise patients accordingly in new patient, family planning, well women/men and chronic disease clinics, but little is known about their knowledge, skills and attitudes towards providing genetic advice. OBJECTIVES: The survey aimed to measure the current situation with regard to: the prevalence of family history recording by practice nurses; confidence in collecting and acting upon family history; and practice nurses' knowledge about familial disorders and genetics. It also investigated what practice nurses think their role should be in relation to the delivery of genetic services; their educational needs; and the most appropriate ways of delivering training/support. METHODS: A postal questionnaire survey was carried out of all practices nurses (n = 909) in four Health Authorities in England (Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham and North Nottinghamshire) and one Health Board in Scotland (Lothian). Analyses were primarily descriptive. RESULTS: A total of 600 nurses (response rate = 66.0%) returned a completed questionnaire. Ninety-six per cent of practice nurses reported that they routinely collect family history information. Over half of the respondents had been consulted in the previous 3 months by patients with a worry about family history of cancer. Approximately 60% of nurses felt confident about collecting the relevant details regarding a family history of breast cancer but felt less confident in collecting the information regarding familial colorectal cancer. Nurses were also unsure how to proceed, with over a third of nurses referring patients to the GP even if they thought the patient was at population risk or, conversely, not referring those that they thought were at considerably higher risk to the GP. There was a reported need for education about familial disease in general and overall agreement that nurses could play a role in genetics in primary care. CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence of considerable activity from practice nurses regarding routine collection of family history. There is a need for further education for practice nurses regarding family history information and the new genetics so that this information is managed appropriately. (+info
(3/424) Experiences and expectations of the new genetics in relation to familial risk of breast cancer: a comparison of the views of GPs and practice nurses.
BACKGROUND: Advances in genetics may change the practice of medicine in many ways. Ascertaining practitioners' perceptions about managing the risk of familial breast cancer can give an insight into the current and expected impact on general practice to inform relevant education. Little is known about the practice nurses' (PNs) views of the new genetics in comparison with those of the GP. OBJECTIVES: Our aim was to describe and compare the views of GPs and PNs on their experiences and expectations of the new genetics in relation to managing familial risk of breast cancer. METHOD: A questionnaire, assessing views on the current and future impact of genetic advances in general and on the management of women with a familial risk of breast cancer, was sent to all GPs and PNs in the 66 practices of the Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Authority. RESULTS: There was a 69% response rate. The words 'cautious', 'mixed feelings', 'hopeful' and 'optimistic' were used most frequently in response to views on genetic advances, but PNs chose more positive words than GPs (P < 0.001). PNs were also more optimistic than GPs in relation to the future positive impact of genetics on practice (P < 0.0001). Sixty-one per cent of GPs and 45% of PNs agreed that genetic advances in relation to breast cancer were already affecting their work. A minority of practitioners had attended recent educational events in risk assessment for breast cancer, and only 8% of GPs reported a practice policy on familial breast cancer risk management. CONCLUSIONS: GPs and PNs show a cautious optimism in relation to advances in genetics, with PNs most optimistic. Many perceive that genetic advances in relation to breast cancer are already affecting their workloads, yet educational attendance and practice policies are lacking. Given PN involvement, multi-professional education may be appropriate. Education about risk management, including family history and genetics, might be better integrated into more general teaching on the prevention and management of breast cancer, than taught alone. (+info
(4/424) Caring for the older person: an exploration of perceptions using personal construct theory.
BACKGROUND: There is a reluctance among nurses to enter elderly care. OBJECTIVE: To discover nurses' perceptions of the elderly patients in their care. METHOD: After a period of participant observation, we selected 26 nurses from among those working in two elderly-care rehabilitation hospitals. Interpersonal perceptions were investigated using personal construct theory. We elicited personal constructs, produced repertory grids and rated patients according to popularity. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The most common way of perceiving patients was in terms of mental or physical dependence. Health-care assistants were more likely than staff nurses to perceive patients in terms of their personality. Nurses tended to have simplified ways of perceiving their patients. Popular patients were always mentally intact. (+info
(5/424) The role of the asthma nurse in treatment compliance and self-management following hospital admission.
Effective self-management and treatment compliance is important in achieving good symptom control in asthma. The aim of this study was to determine whether asthma nurse intervention during hospital admission could increase knowledge and improve self-management and whether this would influence the number of emergency call-out visits by Genera Practitioners (GPs) and hospital re-admissions. Patients with acute asthma (n=80) were assessed by the asthma nurse within 24 h of admission using a British Thoracic Society (BTS) guideline-based questionnaire. Main outcome measures were: know edge of inhalers, self-management plans, peak flow monitoring, recognition of worsening symptoms and appropriate emergency action, Following randomization, half received nurse intervention during hospitalization. All received a follow-up questionnaire 6 weeks post-discharge and again at 6 months (response rates 86% and 81% respectively). GPs were contacted by postal questionnaire after 4 months. Questionnaire responses indicated an increase in knowledge in the intervention group, along with an ability to identify appropriate action on worsening symptoms. Emergency GP call-outs were more frequent in the control group in the 4 months post-discharge. Hospital re-admission rates were similar in both groups. Asthma nurse intervention appeared to increase knowledge of asthma management, maintained throughout the study period, but had no significant impact on reducing re-admissions to hospital. (+info
(6/424) Substitution of a nursing-led inpatient unit for acute services: randomized controlled trial of outcomes and cost of nursing-led intermediate care.
OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the outcome and cost of transfer to a nursing-led inpatient unit for 'intermediate care'. The unit was designed to replace a period of care in acute hospital wards and promote recovery before discharge to the community. DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial comparing outcomes of care on a nursing-led inpatient unit with the system of consultant-managed care on a range of acute hospital wards. SETTING: hospital wards in an acute inner-London National Health Service trust. SUBJECTS: 175 patients assessed to be medically stable but requiring further inpatient care, referred to the unit from acute wards. INTERVENTION: 89 patients were randomly allocated to care on the unit (nursing-led care with no routine medical intervention) and 86 to usual hospital care. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Length of hospital stay, discharge destination, functional dependence (Barthel index) and direct healthcare costs. RESULTS: Care in the unit had no significant impact on discharge destination or dependence. Length of inpatient stay was significantly increased for the treatment group (P=0.036; 95% confidence interval 1.1-20.7 days). The daily cost of care was lower on the unit, but the mean total cost was pound sterlings 1044 higher-although the difference from the control was not significant (P=0.150; 95% confidence interval - pound sterlings 382 to pound sterlings 2471). CONCLUSIONS: The nursing-led inpatient unit led to longer hospital stays. Since length of stay is the main driver of costs, this model of care-at least as implemented here-may be more costly. However, since the unit may substitute for both secondary and primary care, longer-term follow-up is needed to determine whether patients are better prepared for discharge under this model of care, resulting in reduced primary-care costs. (+info
(7/424) Can nurses working in remote units accurately request and interpret radiographs?
OBJECTIVE: Recent changes in the NHS have seen nurses take on roles that are traditionally filled by doctors, leading to the development of emergency nurse practitioners (ENPs). In addition to this, increasing interest has focused on telemedicine (literally, medicine at a distance) as a way of supporting remote emergency departments and minor injuries units from larger centres. The vast majority of these consultations are related to peripheral limb trauma and require a radiograph to be viewed as an integral part of the telemedical consultation. The aim of this study was therefore to determine whether nurses working alone in a peripheral unit are able to appropriately request, and accurately interpret, peripheral limb radiographs. METHODS: In this prospective study the four qualified nurses working in a peripheral unit were permitted to request a defined set of radiographs after limb trauma. A written protocol for nurse requested radiographs was supported by individual teaching sessions. At the time that the radiograph was requested basic demographic details were recorded and the patient was also assessed by two senior doctors in emergency medicine, one in person and one via a telemedicine link, both of whom independently considered whether the radiograph requested by the nurse was appropriate in that patient. Nursing staff were also asked to provide a provisional interpretation of each film, and this was compared with a gold standard derived from the interpretations of the two emergency physicians who had seen the patient and the final radiologist's report. RESULTS: The first 300 patients who had a radiograph requested by a member of the nursing staff were studied over a period of 12 months. Altogether 93 radiographs (31%) were positive for recent bony trauma or radio-opaque foreign body. Eleven radiographs (3.7%) were judged by both emergency physicians to be inappropriate. Three radiographs (1%) were requested outside the limits of the protocol, but all three were judged to be appropriate and occurred within the first two months of the study. A total of 32 (10.7%) of the radiographs were incorrectly interpreted by nursing staff with 26 false positives, four false negatives and two cases where the nurse observed an abnormality but failed to identify it correctly. The sensitivity of nurse interpretation was therefore 96%, with a specificity of 87%. CONCLUSION: Experienced nurses, working without continuous medical supervision in a remote unit, are able to request appropriate radiographs of the peripheral limbs. Nurses requesting radiographs in this way can also interpret these films to a high standard, though with a tendency to err on the side of caution, generating many more false positive results than false negatives. (+info
(8/424) The epilepsy nurse specialist--expendable handmaiden or essential colleague?
The benefits of a specialist epilepsy nurse in the management of people with epilepsy are still in question. Evidence from controlled clinical trials suggests that patients supported by a nurse specialist are well informed and have a high degree of satisfaction. However, no significant effect on health status or the number of seizures has been yet demonstrated, although this is not the primary function of most epilepsy specialist nurses. The recent International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) British Branch meeting in Liverpool (April 2001) dedicated a one-day symposium to epilepsy nursing including a debate on the effectiveness of the epilepsy specialist nursewarm fuzzy feeling or evidence based?'. Although it was agreed that evidence-based research is limited, the case studies and data presented, throughout the symposium, highlighted the varying role of the epilepsy specialist nurse in supporting both the specialist physician in epilepsy care, the non-specialist physician and the primary care physician in patient communication. This paper provides an overview of the presentations given at the symposium, including those on nursing research and publishing. (+info