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

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


Exclusive: New A&E nursing role helps boost hip fracture survival

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Exclusive: New A&E nursing role helps boost hip fracture survival

Source: Booyabazooka

X-ray image of hip, with top of femur broken

The introduction of an advanced nursing support role has contributed to a fall in mortality rates among the most vulnerable, older patients at an acute trust in Kent, say senior nursing staff.

“I was really quite gobsmacked with the results”

Cliff Evans

Brought in as part of a new clinical pathway, the associate practitioner role in accident and emergency care has resulted in what nursing staff describe as a “dramatic” shift in survival rates.

The 30-day death rate for hip fracture patients at Medway Maritime Hospital hovered at around 10% for several years. But it has virtually halved to 5.7% since the launch of an “accelerated hip fracture pathway” in October last year – in which the associate practitioners play an integral role.

Medway Foundation Trust started training associate practitioners two years ago, with 15 now working in emergency care, said Cliff Evans, consultant nurse in emergency medicine.

The advanced support role sees healthcare workers undergo extensive training to enable them to take on extra responsibility, including taking the lead in the new hip fracture pathway.

The pathway is triggered as soon as someone with a suspected hip fracture arrives at the hospital. Two associate practitioners have responsibility for the pathway at any one time round the clock.

Mr Evans said it had improved patients’ experience of care and sense of feeling valued, as well as ensuring key factors such as adequate and safe pain relief.

He admitted staff had been surprised by the drop in mortality rate. “I was really quite gobsmacked with the results,” he said.

The role has proved so successful that it is currently being introduced to acute medical areas at the trust.


Nurse-led project helps women with epilepsy plan pregnancy

Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

Nurse-led project helps women with epilepsy plan pregnancy

Animation to help women with epilepsy plan pregnancy

Nurses at The Walton Centre Foundation Trust have helped devise a short animation designed to aid women with epilepsy plan and prepare for pregnancy. The colourful and engaging animation came out of a study to explore the information needs of young people with the condition, which revealed a lack of information about medication and getting pregnant to be a key concern.


New continence guide to help children with learning disabilities and physical conditions

Child in hospital

Mental health child

The charity ERIC has launched a guide to help parents and cares deal with the “huge challenge” of continence issues among children with learning disabilities and long-term physical conditions. The resource for those caring for children with additional needs has been written by specialist nurses.


Major new awareness campaign recognises ‘key role’ of nurses in preventing infection

Public Health England

Campaign recognises ‘key role’ of nurses in preventing infection

Public Health England has said nurses have a “key role” to play in a new public awareness campaign launched to help tackle the spread of antimicrobial resistance. The Keep Antibiotics Working campaign began on 23 October. However, a progress report on antimicrobial stewardship, also warned that the sharing of trust data on antibiotic use with frontline staff was “disappointingly” low.


NICE issued the first briefing on innovative pressure ulcer prevention dressings

elderly hospital


An innovative dressing that helps reduce friction and protect vulnerable areas of skin could be used to prevent pressure ulcers among hospital patients, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It has suggested Mepilex Border dressings could be a useful addition to standard ulcer prevention methods.


Depression in nurses ‘increases likelihood of making errors’

Ohio State University

Depression in nurses ‘increases likelihood of making errors’

Depression is “common” among nurses and linked to a higher likelihood that they will make clinical errors, according to a US study. Depression stood out as a major concern among 1,790 nurses who responded to a national survey, and was the key predictor of errors, said researchers from Ohio State University.


New tool helps practice nurses assess frailty in older patients

Elderly man

Elderly man

A tool has been designed by UK researchers to help primary care staff assess which older patients are living with mild, moderate and severe frailty and at increased risk of future nursing home or hospital admission, longer hospital stays and mortality. The electronic frailty index (eFI) uses 36 indicators taken from routine data already held on GP databases.


Commercial programme helped more than half of patients to curb diabetes risk

weighing scales

weighing scales

More than a third of patients at risk of developing type 2 diabetes avoided developing the condition after they were referred to a prevention programme delivered by Weight Watchers, according to researchers in London. The initiative also helped more than half to reduce their risk of developing diabetes or get their HbA1c levels back to normal.


Charity appoints nurse to help patients avoid ‘fake news’ about cancer on the web

Macmillan Cancer Support

Charity appoints nurse to combat ‘fake news’ about cancer

Ellen McPake

Ellen McPake has been appointed as Macmillan’s first “digital nurse specialist” to help ensure people can get accurate online information about cancer. The charity created the role because cancer patients were increasingly googling their diagnosis, leaving them “needlessly frightened and at risk of bogus cures”.


Nurse-led initiative to help tackle patient boredom rolled out by Essex hospital trust

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Nurse’s idea for activity boxes to tackle patient boredom

Steph Baker (left)

Activity boxes are being distributed to most wards at an Essex hospital to help prevent patients becoming bored. They were the idea of Steph Baker, a learning disability hospital liaison nurse specialist at Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust. Each box contains a variety of activities, including word search books, games, arts and crafts materials, and knitted sensory bands.


Paracetamol may help reduce post-operative shivering

Operating theatre light

Very little elective surgery is carried out at weekends, leaving theatres empty

Administering paracetamol during surgery may reduce the incidence of post-operative shivering, suggests a small Japanese study involving 37 patients. Among the women given paracetamol, 22% experienced post-operative shivering, compared to 74% who received the placebo.







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