Behind the Rituals
All posts from: September 2012
Should herbal medicines sit alongside conventional medicines?
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly popular, and encompasses a number of systems and therapies based on diverse theories and practices, such as homoeopathy, traditional herbalism, Reiki, Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.
While many are based on metaphysical concepts for which there is no sound evidence, for herbal medicines there is a rational, scientific basis and increasing clinical evidence.
An article published in Nursing Times this week suggests herbal medicines should no longer be considered part of CAM, but instead sit alongside conventional medicines.
How can nurses’ compassion and values be measured at interview?
A government-commissioned review is likely to press for all new nurses and healthcare assistants to be screened for their values and ability to be compassionate, Nursing Times has been told.
The chair of the panel, high profile GP Professor Steve Field, told Nursing Times that universities should interview all healthcare staff before giving them places, and use the values in the NHS constitution as part of interviews. He said the review had discovered that at present, several nursing schools in England did not interview.
He said: “Universities should be interviewing all healthcare professionals, not just offering them courses based on their A-Level grades. I despair of nursing schools and medical schools which don’t interview.”
Professor Field also said healthcare employers should use the constitution’s values in interviews for all staff. In particular he said that more attention should be paid to healthcare assistants and other unqualified staff. The role of HCAs may receive particular criticism from the Mid Staffordshire inquiry, and there have been calls for statutory regulation of the roles.
Should all nursing documentation be standardised across the NHS?
The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Physicians have worked together to develop the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) system for recording vital signs in adults. They claim it could save up to 6,000 lives a year. They want to see it introduced in acute and community hospitals, nursing homes and ambulance services to increase consistency, reduce mistakes and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.
A recent study published in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety found there were nearly 12,000 avoidable deaths of adults in English acute hospitals annually. It found almost a third of these could be attributed to poor clinical monitoring, 29.7% from diagnostic errors and 21.1 % from inadequate drug or fluid management.
- Nurses ‘crucial’ to plan to save 6,000 lives with new bed chart, Nursing Times
- ‘Assessment’ section, Nursing Times
Do people with mental health problems miss out on essential care?
A study by researchers from John Hopkins University has found that people with conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were 2.6 times more likely to develop cancer than the rest of the population. They raised questions about whether people with serious mental illness were getting appropriate screening and preventive care related to cancer risks, such as advice on stopping smoking.
This is backed by a recent review published in Nursing Times which examined the issue of discrimination against people with mental health problems. The author found that service users encountered discrimination when accessing services such as GPs. They reported professionals as being dismissive or assuming that physical presentations were “all in the mind”. This is especially significant, as evidence suggests people with mental illness are at greater risk from physical health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and respiratory disease; they also have a higher risk of premature death.