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Clinical news summary: Top nurse research and practice stories from February 2017

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Miss any of the clinical and practice news affecting the profession during February 2017? Catch up with our summary of the main study headlines and clinical breakthroughs.


Cartoon helps parents tell children of cancer diagnosis

Marie Curie

Cartoon helps parents explain cancer diagnosis to children

Those behind a new communications initiative are hoping that nurses will signpost cancer patients to a new animation designed to help parents talk to their children about their diagnosis.

The animation is the “first of its kind”, according to the UCLH Cancer Collaborative, a “vanguard” site for the national cancer strategy based at University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust.

The vanguard has teamed up with the Fruit Fly Collective to launch the short animated film, which can be used to guide parents through discussions on their diagnosis with children of different ages.

The vanguard noted that explaining a cancer diagnosis to their child was one of the hardest things a parent can do. But it said, that with the right support, children were very good at coping, and talking to each other as a family could really help children at this difficult time.

Marie Curie

Cartoon helps parents explain cancer diagnosis to children

Children’s emotions in response to the news

The animation uses a cartoon family to give practical tips on helping parents tell children they have cancer. Evidence showed people responded positively to messages that may be frightening, sensitive or confusing when the information behind them was delivered in a cartoon-like format, noted the vanguard.

The animation has also been made into a comic-book for parents, and flyers informing people about the film will be distributed throughout the NHS in London.

A spokeswoman said: “We are keen to get the message out to nurses, particularly CNSs, so that they can signpost patients to the animation. There is no other film of its kind currently available, as far as we are aware.”


NICE sets out ‘soft signs’ that could indicate child abuse

Child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse


Child sexual abuse

School nurses and other members of the profession coming into contact with children outside of hospitals should look out for “soft signs” that may indicate abuse, according to draft guidance. A new draft guideline from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is aimed at helping more professionals who work with children recognise and respond to any form of abuse and neglect. Published for public consultation, it presents information on how professionals working with children outside of obvious healthcare settings can spot the signs of abuse or neglect.


Weight loss drug could ward off diabetes in at-risk patients

Liraglutide (Victoza)

Weight loss drug could ward off diabetes in at-risk patients

Source: A2-33

NMR structure of liraglutide

A weight loss drug that suppresses appetite can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 80% in patients deemed at-risk of developing the condition, suggest study results. In a trial, involving UK researchers, the drug was tested on overweight people with “pre-diabetes” characterised by slightly increased blood sugar levels. It found liraglutide (Victoza) could help to prevent progression into diabetes when combined with diet and exercise, and could even “cure” pre-diabetes altogether.


Nurses report that innovation is improving patient care at London hospital trust

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

New acute kidney injury ‘app’ saving nurses time

The new Streams app

A new “application” that detects early signs of kidney failure is being by nurses used to improve care at the Royal Free London Foundation Trust in London. Using an instant alert system, the Streams app directs clinicians to patients who are at risk of, or who have developed, acute kidney injury. Within a few weeks of being introduced, nurses who have been using the app said it had been saving them up to two hours every day.


Cancer patients benefit from walking, finds nurse study



Walking could improve the quality of life of people with advanced cancer, according to a study by nurse researchers. The small-scale study, by the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King’s College London, looked at the difference taking regular walks made to patients with various types of cancers in advanced stages. The findings, published in BMJ Open, suggested walking had a range of benefits for patients, including boosting physical and emotional wellbeing.


Plan to develop genomics training and network for nurses


Source: MAXPPP

An international network is being planned to support nurses working in the field of genomics. The establishment of a Global Genomics Nursing Alliance was judged to be the “best way forward” in helping nurses use scientific developments in genomics to improve patient care. At a recent meeting of nursing experts from the field in Cambridge, Professor Maggie Kirk, from the genomics policy unit at the University of South Wales, said: “There is some very hard work to be done in addressing the issues discussed, which were common across the 18 countries represented at the summit.”


Charity launches free palliative care information website for general nurses 

Tablet computer, mobile working

Tablet computer, mobile working

Tablet computer, mobile working

A charity has launched a new free online resource aimed at supporting health and social care professionals who do not have particular expertise in palliative and end of life care. It is the first time that a comprehensive and robust suite of end of life care material has been made available free, quickly and easily accessible all in one place, according to Marie Curie.


Review highlights effective ways to boost pregnancy health


The most effective ways for midwives to support women to be healthy during pregnancy, based on the available evidence, have been drawn together in a new report by the research wing of the NHS. The report, published by the National Institute for Health Research, details evidence-based interventions that can improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies. It includes maintaining a healthy diet and weight, breastfeeding and mental health, as well as smoking cessation, alcohol and recreational drug use, and domestic violence. It also shows how improving care for women from disadvantaged communities can improve the life chances of their children.


New fellowships focus on boosting nurse research

Woman with pipette doing medical research



Two nurses have been appointed to a brand new type of research fellowship designed to boost nursing’s input into the complexities of tackling antimicrobial resistance. The one-year fellowships, devised by researchers at Imperial College London and senior nurses at Imperial College Healthcare Trust, will give participants the chance to gain vital skills and experience within a leading research team. The two successful candidates – Victor Mariano and Vivian Alividza – will have the chance to work alongside experts in infectious diseases, infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship.


Vitamin D supplements ‘could cut 10% of colds and flu’


Taking vitamin D supplements could help prevent acute respiratory tract infections, particularly among very deficient individuals, according to researchers from Queen Mary University of London. Supplementation resulted in a 12% reduction in the proportion of patients experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection, they said, adding that infections from the common cold to bronchitis and pneumonia had been linked with low blood levels of vitamin D.


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