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Behind the Rituals

Why do you do the things you do? How much of nursing practice is based on ritual and myth and how much on sound evidence? If you have a ritual you’d like to discuss here, email

What would prevent a nurse from talking to patients about FGM?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 17 Feb 2014

The government has announced that NHS hospitals will have to submit data on the number of girls and women who have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM).

Should nurses have indemnity insurance?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 10 Feb 2014

Members of the Royal College of Nursing who work for the NHS, private sector or independently in aesthetics will no longer be covered by the union’s indemnity scheme from July. The RCN described the change as “small” and said it was in order to close a loophole that allowed employers to shift the costs of cover onto the college.

What activities do older people want in care homes?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 3 Feb 2014

Last week we reported that residents at a Gloucestershire care home can now enjoy a game of darts or their favourite drink, thanks to the introduction of a pop-up pub.

How does shift work affect your health?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 27 Jan 2014

Recent research undertaken in the UK has suggested working night shifts plays havoc with many of the body’s genes.

Do you have space to reflect on patient care?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 20 Jan 2014

A recent report from the Point of Care Foundation “Staff care. How to engage staff in the NHS and why it matters” suggests that staff need space to reflect on patient care challenges.

Have you ever reported a clinical incident?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdWed, 15 Jan 2014

This week we have published a summary of a Cochrane view of incident reporting systems.

What effect will recruiting mental health nurses to police stations and courts have?

Posted by Fran EntwistleTue, 7 Jan 2014

The government has announced extra funding for mental health nurses to be based at police stations and courts across the country.

Will increasing the number of places on nursing courses solve the staffing crisis?

Posted by Fran EntwistleMon, 30 Dec 2013

This is part of the first ever national workforce plan for the NHS, which aims to recruit and retain more nurses to prevent staffing levels dropping dangerously low.

Should nurses ever lie to patients?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 23 Dec 2013

Relatives and nurses sometimes express concerns about colluding with patients who have dementia and the ethics of doing so. Others argue that correcting misunderstandings causes unnecessary distress.This raised the question of when it is acceptable to lie to patients.What do you think?

Do you need formal training to manage intravenous infusions?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 16 Dec 2013

In latest guidance NICE warned that as many as one in five patients on IV fluids and electrolytes suffer complications or even die due to their inappropriate administration.

How do you spot the signs of dehydration?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 9 Dec 2013

Figures obtained by the Daily Telegraph showed that 1,158 care home residents suffered dehydration-related deaths from 2003 to 2012. According to the newspaper, dehydration was noted on death certificates as either the main cause of death or a contributory factor.

Is it possible to ban smoking on hospital premises?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 2 Dec 2013

NHS hospitals should ban smoking on their premises and staff should be told not to help patients who want to smoke, according to new guidance according to new NICE guidance.

Can you run a ward with one nurse at night?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 25 Nov 2013

Data obtained by the RCN via a freedom of information request found five hospitals from 18 trusts in the east of England had wards with only one registered nurse on duty. This was compared with their establishment of two registered nurses and one healthcare assistant.

Should we expect relatives to provide essential care in hospital?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 18 Nov 2013

I was talking to a nurse last week about workload on wards. She suggested that initiatives such as restrictive visiting and protected mealtimes prevent families from participating in the delivery of care and pointed to other countries where families are expected to provide care and food in hospital.

Could machines replace nurses?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 11 Nov 2013

Silicon Valley investor Vinod Khosla suggested that machines could replace 80% of doctors. He describes an average consultation with a GP as “a routine diagnosis with a standard treatment … something a computer algorithm could do if the treatment involved no harm, or at least do as well as the median doctor”.

What effect do urinary catheters have on patients' quality of life?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 4 Nov 2013

A research review published this week looking at patients’ experience of living with a catheter has described the effect these devices have on patients’ quality of live and intimate relationships and highlights the need to involve patients in decisions about their care.What do you consider when you select a urinary catheter?Do ...

Are you confident to talk to patients about cancer?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 28 Oct 2013

Would you know how to find answers to their questions?Do you know where to get accurate information?Do you feel anxious talking about a cancer diagnosis?

Are omitted and delayed medication drug errors?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 21 Oct 2013

Although the National Patient Safety Agency published a Rapid Response Report on reducing harm resulting from omitted or delayed medication in 2010, omitted doses continue to occur frequently. The Francis report raised awareness of the problem and its potential impact on patient care.

How do you measure the value of the specialist nurse?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 14 Oct 2013

How do you measure the value of a specialist nurse?What do you thnk? 

Are link nurses a necessity or a luxury?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 7 Oct 2013

I spoke to a nurse recently who had spent a day off on the ward updating her link nurse board and finishing off audits and paperwork. She does not have time during the working day to carry out this voluntary role.  What is the value of the link nurse role?