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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

Does opening windows reduce infection rates?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 13 May 2013

We reported this week that the chance of infection in wards varies dramatically depending on whether nursing staff leave the windows open. A study by the University of Leeds and Bradford Teaching Foundation Trust looked at airflow in a disused “Nightingale” ward using tracer gases to simulate the spread of airborne infections.

Should nurses undertake study in their own time?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 6 May 2013

Nursing is described as a profession, but terms such as “vocation” and “calling” are also used to describe the principles that attract people into nursing. What do you think? Should nurses undertake study in their own time?

Is it safe to care for patients in 'hospital hotels'?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 29 Apr 2013

 Ministers ponder ‘hospital hotels’

Should nurses accept education funding/grants from the drugs industry?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 15 Apr 2013

NHS and private healthcare staff received £40m from drugs companies in one year

Should nurses treat abusive patients?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 8 Apr 2013

What do you think?How do we define abusive behaviour?How do we measure abusive behaviour?Should it be tolerated if it is associated with patients’ health problems?Do NHS staff receive enough training to managing conflict with patients and relatives?

Should directors of nursing have a clinical role?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 1 Apr 2013

What do you think?Is it important for DONs to be clinically credible?Should DONs be clinical experts?Is it possible DONs to manage a nursing service if they are not directly involved in clinical practice?

Does hand hygiene technique matter?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 25 Mar 2013

Bailey J (2012) From Ward to Whitehall. The disaster at Mid Staffs Hospital. Cure the NHS: Stafford

Should drug administration involve two nurses?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 31 Dec 2012

In our practice comment this week Jennifer Kelly states that hospitalised patients with swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) are three times more likely to suffer medicine administration errors (MAEs) than patients without dysphagia. Of greater concern is that the errors found were not minor. She suggested that single-handed drug administration means that nurses are often unaware that they have made errors and so they are unable to correct or report them.

Are you buying your manager a Christmas present this year?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 17 Dec 2012

Dean Royles the director of the NHS Employers recently suggested,  “Hardly anyone supports and encourages NHS managers, or shows any recognition or appreciation of the context they work in or the difficult, sometimes intractable challenges they face”.Do you think this comment is justified?