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Call for senior nurses to play key role in acute medical units

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EXPERIENCED hospital nurses should form part of acute medical units, which offer 24-hour rapid-response care, says a report from the Royal College of Physicians.
The report, part of a series on modernising acute care, says AMUs should be set up in all large acute hospitals and should join A&E, critical care and ambulance services on an ‘emergency floor’.

EXPERIENCED hospital nurses should form part of acute medical units, which offer 24-hour rapid-response care, says a report from the Royal College of Physicians.
The report, part of a series on modernising acute care, says AMUs should be set up in all large acute hospitals and should join A&E, critical care and ambulance services on an ‘emergency floor’.

Glynis Dack, senior nurse at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Trust, who contributed to the document, said: ‘This report is crucial as it provides suggested nursing establishments for AMUs, something which has never been available before.’

The report says numbers and grades of AMU nurses will vary depending on the hospital but their team should be led by a senior nurse. ‘In smaller units a senior nurse could have overarching responsibility for both the AMU and the emergency department. Some units will have a nurse practitioner, consultant nurse or matron in this role.’

AMU nurses should have enhanced skills in areas such as ECG and venepuncture, and experience of nursing patients with physical disability. They should also be encouraged to develop further specialist skills, the report said. Larger AMUs should have a lead nurse for areas such as oxygen therapy and critical care.

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