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Putting it into practice

All posts from: February 2012

What dilemmas do nurses face caring for patients who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes?

27 February, 2012 Posted by: -

  • Article: de Vries K, Green AJ (2012) Therapeutic use of cannabis. Nursing Times; 108: 9.
  • Author: Kay de Vries is senior lecturer, Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand; Anita J Green is dual diagnosis nurse consultant, Mill View Hospital, Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust.

Key points

  1. Nurses have a responsibility to be well informed about research on all medications taken by patients, including licensed, pharmacologically prepared and illegal cannabis
  2. Patients should be given information about the physical and psychological effects of illegal cannabis and how it may interact with prescribed medication
  3. Nurses should ensure they document patients’ cannabis use, its effects and side-effects
  4. They should ensure patients are aware of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and of the penalties for using cannabis
  5. Nurses should not get involved in supplying, funding, obtaining or preparing cannabis for patients even if the latter are unable to do this

Let’s discuss

  • Do you think there is strong evidence to support the use of cannabis to control symptoms associated life limiting illness?
  • What action should you take if a patient discloses they are using cannabis for symptom control? 
  • It has been suggested that patients with specified medical conditions should be exempt from criminal prosecution if they grow cannabis for their own use. What are the arguments for and against this proposal?  
  • Cannabis is available in a number of countries as a synthetic product. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using these synthetic products?

Comments (2)

How can education be used to increase sexual health screening?

20 February, 2012 Posted by: -

Key points

  1. There is a pressing need to improve the sexual health of young people aged 16-24
  2. Encouraging this group to take up screening remains a major challenge
  3. Evidence suggests that engaging with young people encourages behaviour change
  4. The experience of a specialist team in Nottingham shows that education encourages young people to take up sexual health screening
  5. Opportunities to reach young people through existing channels using education combined with screening should be exploited

Let’s discuss

  • Why do the under 25 age group have problems talking about sexual health and participating in screening for sexually transmitted infections?
  • How can education be used as part of an STI screening programme?
  • At what age is it appropriate to talk to school pupils about STIs?
  • How would you introduce the subject of STIs to a group of school pupils?

How can infection in care homes be tackled?

13 February, 2012 Posted by: -

  • Article: Winfield J, Wiley C (2012) Tackling infection in care homes.Nursing Times; 108: 7, early online publication.
  • Author: Jodie Winfield is infection prevention and control nurse; Carolyn Wiley is operational nurse manager infection prevention; both at Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust.

Key points

  1. Patients colonised with MRSA have an increased risk of developing serious infection
  2. MRSA screening alone may not reduce colonisation
  3. Staff ownership of infection prevention and control strategies is crucial
  4. Practitioners’ knowledge and formal training is vital in preventing the spread of HCAIs
  5. Nurses wishing to replicate this model need a clear vision, board level support, effective leadership, supportive management and funding

Let’s discuss

  • Why are care homes residents at increased risk of MRSA colonisation?
  • Why is it important to screen care home residents for MRSA colonisation?
  • How would you organise an MRSA education programme for care assistants in the residential/care home sector?
  • Can you identify particular challenges in providing education programmes in care homes and strategies you could use to overcome these?
  • What key messages would you include in your programme?

How can staff be prepared for an electronic record system?

6 February, 2012 Posted by: -

  • Article: Cooper A (2012) Electronic record system preparation. Nursing Times; 108: 6, 26-27.
  • Author: Anne Cooper is national clinical lead for nursing, Department of Health Informatics Directorate.

Key points

  1. Clinical staff often show a lack of engagement or scepticism about using technology
  2. Careful planning and involving nursing teams is vital when implementing electronic record systems
  3. Nurse leaders need to consider whether IT systems fit with their professional values
  4. The Caldicott guardian in each trust is a helpful resource
  5. A team effort is crucial in reaping the benefits more quickly for patients and staff

Let’s discuss

Think about how you respond to new technology in the work place.

  • Do you feel excited about it or does it make you feel anxious? Why?
  • If technology makes you or one of your team anxious or worried list actions you could take to address these concerns?
  • If you are using electronic record systems how is patient confidentiality assured?
  • How could you measure the effect of new technology on patient care and the ward team?

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