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Competency training is vital for safe practice

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Looking back over 2007, many articles published in the nursing press concluded that nurses needed to make sure that they maintained their competencies to ensure safe practice.

At the start of the 2008 many nurses will be thinking about their training needs and what they need to do to keep up to date. However, in the current economic climate, this is often easier said than done.
Nurses say that they currently have less opportunity for training and, where funding is available, there is often a problem with obtaining time away from their clinical areas.

Nurses are also being asked to make some very complex decisions about the delegation of clinical work to healthcare assistants.

This is evident in the area of wound care where there is a debate about whether HCAs can undertake the management of non-complex wounds.

Such delegation needs to be considered carefully. An HCA may be able to change a simple dressing – but are they able to assess a wound and identify clinical signs of infection or failure
to heal?

In some trusts, these issues have already been addressed through structured, competency-based training. It is important that nurses have an opportunity to share these experiences, too. If access to education and training continues to be a problem in 2008, then the opportunities to discuss and consider such issues will be restricted.

If you are struggling to obtain access to training or study leave, professional organisations such as the Leg Ulcer Forum offer opportunities for sharing practice through their conferences, study days and publications. The LUF also work in association with NT to produce this Chronic Wound Management supplement that provides regular wound care updates throughout the year.

In addition, now offers a new tissue viability section with all the latest wound care news and regular email alerts, as well as links to past issues of Chronic Wound Management and relevant articles from the NT clinical archive and guided learning series.

As well as keeping you up to date, the section offers an opportunity for wound care nurses to share ideas and innovations. If there is something that you think we should include, please email

Eileen Shepherd, RGN, DipN
Editor, Chronic Wound Management

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