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Nurses need to be more aware of osteoporosis

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Hospital nurses need more training to improve their skills and knowledge regarding osteoporosis, according to research by a trauma nurse.

Interviews with A&E, fracture clinic and orthopaedic nurses from West Wales General Hospital found misconceptions and knowledge gaps about osteoporosis prevalence, risk factors, detection and treatment.

Thirteen of the 16 nurses interviewed also said they were taught little or nothing about osteoporosis during training.

Alison Lorch, a trauma nurse at the trust and study author, said that osteoporosis awareness was important as studies have indicated that 50% of women and 20% of men over 50 were likely to sustain an osteoporosis-related fracture.

‘Nurses need to keep osteoporosis the back of their mind. Some haven’t even thought about it,’ she said.

‘Everyone knows about COPD, for example, but even some medical students don’t know about osteoporosis - it’s not in their training.’

She added: ‘Since finishing my masters, I’ve been inspired to teach on an accredited trauma and osteoporosis module at the local nursing college.’

Mike Hayward, former RCN Adviser for Acute and Emergency Care Nursing, said that the study indicated thatosteoporosis awareness among A&E nurses generally was poor.

‘This paper probably reflects what happens in reality,’ he said. ‘Osteoporosis is a long-term care issue and it’s fair to say most A&E nurses won’t be up to speed.’

Ms Loach’s research was for Swansea University’s MSc Nursing and was presented at the National Osteoporosis Society’s 2009 Osteoporosis Conference.

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