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Putting it into practice

All posts from: June 2012

How can nurses effectively manage patients with alcohol withdrawal?

26 June, 2012 Posted by: -

  • Article: Benson G et al (2012) An alcohol withdrawal tool for use in hospitals. Nursing Times; 108: 26, 15-17.

Key points

  • The number of patients admitted to acute hospitals with alcohol-related problems is growing
  • Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can have an adverse effect on the health of hospital patients
  • It can also affect the wellbeing of staff and other patients
  • The most commonly used AWS screening tool was tested in alcohol detox settings, so one was needed for acute hospitals
  • Early identification of AWS can cut length of hospital stays and the number of violent incidents

Let’s discuss

  • What are the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS)?
  • How are patients at risk of AWS assessed and managed in your clinical area?
  • Do you feel confident to manage patients with AWS? If not explain why?
  • What are the effects of poor management of AWS?
  • How would you introduce the alcohol withdrawal screening tool described in this article into clinical practice?

How is the identity of the health visitor changing?

23 June, 2012 Posted by: -

  • Article: Baldwin S (2012) Exploring the professional identity of health visitors. Nursing Times; 108: 25, 12-15.

Key points

  • The role of health visitors has been in flux since its conception in the mid-19th century
  • Health visitors’ role has changed over the years and this has affected the profession’s identity
  • It has been linked with nursing despite the different origins of the two professions
  • There is a complex relationship between health visiting and public health
  • Agenda for Change has also impacted on the profession

Let’s discuss

  • The title “health visiting” has been criticised for not being explicit in describing what the title-holder does, compared other professional groups where the roles are clearer, such as nurses and teachers. How would you describe the components of the health visitor role?
  • The author of this paper outlines how the health visiting role has evolved, changed and expanded over the years. How has this affected the professional identity of these practitioners?
  • The role of the health visitor has often been linked to with nursing despite the different origins of the two professions. Why do health visitors need a nursing qualification?
  • The health visitors’ role overlaps with a number of other professional groups such as social work and practice nurses. Do these groups pose a threat to the identity of the health visitor role? Explain your answer.
  • The government aims to recruit 4,200 new health visitors by 2014. What impact with this have on the profession and its professional identity?

Comments (2)

What measures do we implement for preventing falls?

11 June, 2012 Posted by: -



  • Risk of falls for inpatients in hospitals
  • The increase of risk of falls in people on alcohol detox programmes
  • One ward sister’s strategy to engage her staff and improve awareness
  • Solutions to preventing falls



  • Falls incidence
  • Risk of falls
  • Alcohol detox
  • Falls prevention


This article will be useful to help you appreciate the complexity of falls prevention and the need to consider all risk factors when assessing patients for their risk of falls when admitted to the hospital.


  • How prevalent are falls in our workplace?
  • Are there any risk factors specific to our setting?
  • What measures do we implement for preventing falls?



  • Gastrointestinal: Relating to the stomach and small and large intestines
  • Alcohol detox: This is a withdrawal from alcohol, which produces symptoms in those addicted to alcohol.  
  • Alcohol dependence: An overwhelming physical desire to consume alcohol beyond our capacity to control it. Those who are alcohol dependent  often have a high tolerance for alcohol.

How does current advanced nursing practice benefit the profession?

11 June, 2012 Posted by: -

  • Article: Barton TD et al (2012) Advanced nursing 1: the development of advanced nursing roles. Nursing Times; 108: 24, 18-20.

Key points

  • The evolution of advanced nursing has been long and complex
  • This process has led to innovation in nursing, but also to confusion about what advanced nursing was and is
  • Advanced nursing has been and still is one of the most scrutinised and researched concepts
  • It has been advocated as a cost-effective service redesign tool
  • Advanced nurses are the cutting edge of nursing innovation

Let’s discuss

  • Compare and contrast the roles of clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner. What are the key components of these roles?
  • What are the key elements of advanced nursing practice and which nursing roles in your organisation meet these criteria?
  • What preparation do advanced nurses need to undertake their role?

The authors of this series notes that “Moves to regulate advanced nursing via the professional register in the 2000s have faltered, and are now regarded as at best unlikely, and at worst unworkable (Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, 2008). The current professional view is that advanced nurses represent no greater risk to the public than new registrants, and as such a separate part of the register would add no new benefit”.

What do you think? Do advanced nurses need a regulated clinical career framework?

Comments (3)


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