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A new chance to share good practice

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VOL: 99, ISSUE: 11, PAGE NO: 43

Karen Clancey MSc, BA, RGN is nurse consultant, Pennine Acute NHS Trust

As the new chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) it gives me great pleasure to introduce this supplement, particularly as this issue focuses on the new British Thoracic Society/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network asthma guidelines (2003), a guide on inhalers and an introduction to blood gas analysis.

As the new chair of the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists (ARNS) it gives me great pleasure to introduce this supplement, particularly as this issue focuses on the new British Thoracic Society/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network asthma guidelines (2003), a guide on inhalers and an introduction to blood gas analysis.

The guidelines have been eagerly awaited and I predict that health professionals with an interest in asthma will have this glossy document close to hand for months to come. These new guidelines which focus on diagnosis, pharmacological and non-pharmacological management, asthma in pregnancy and occupational asthma, will help us to deliver evidence-based asthma care to our patients and their families. We can audit our asthma care against the recommendations to ensure that it is effective and that patients are receiving high standards of professional management.

Inhaler therapy is the cornerstone of asthma care and choosing an inhaler device that the patient can use effectively is vital to the control of symptoms. These new guidelines address the importance of choosing the right inhaler and the necessity of checking the patient's inhaler technique. An area that needs to be addressed relates to the decontamination of inhaled placebo devices, which over the next few months is likely to become quite topical. It is expected that in the very near future a group of leading respiratory organisations will be invited to look at this concern and draw up a consensus statement on the management and cleaning of such devices.

Periodic updates on blood gas analysis are always well received, as many nurses find that if they are not analysing blood gas results regularly they soon lose this skill. It is important for nurses to appreciate the significance of blood gas analysis to ensure that they are in a position to alert their medical colleagues to any results which may indicate that the patient is in Type 1 or Type 2 respiratory failure.

It is important that we continue to disseminate our knowledge and skills with our peers, so please keep on writing and sharing your expertise.

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