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'How can nurses keep up with the latest research and best practice?'

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A few weeks ago I was at a research conference and had the opportunity to talk to some PhD students who are doing some amazing work.

I love finding out what motivates nurses to commit themselves to years of study and I am struck by how their motivation is often embedded in clinical practice and their experiences with patients. For that reason, it is vital that their research findings reach frontline nurses.

To use evidence-based practice, nurses need access to the latest research and to be able to assess its quality and, if appropriate, change practice to implement it. But many tell us that they do not have time to trawl through journals to find the latest research findings. Increasingly researchers are becoming aware of the need to disseminate their work to clinical nurses in an accessible format, but this can be challenging.

“They do not have time to trawl through journals to find the latest research findings”

Over the last few months we have been working with the National Institute for Health Research to disseminate research studies that are relevant to nursing practice. These have included research on heart failure, nasogastric tube placement and whether nurses can prescribe as effectively as doctors. Each of these articles has a self-assessment quiz so you can test your knowledge after reading the research.

This is one way we are helping to bring you up-to-date evidence. We are also reviewing popular articles in our clinical archive and ensuring they contain the most recent evidence. We recently updated an article on the common, but poorly understood, problem of lower-limb lymphovenous disease and lymphorrhoea or ‘leaky legs’. I commissioned the original article over 10 years ago after nursing a patient with the problem and there is now new evidence to inform care. This updated article provides a review of best practice.

We regularly publish review articles on clinical conditions outlining the evidence for diagnosis, management and nursing care. These are particularly useful when you encounter a condition for the first time or want to revise and update your knowledge.

“Our knowledge about sepsis is growing all the time”

This archive issue (below) includes an overview of the care of people with cataracts and emphasises the importance of early detection. Visual problems are linked to falls and loss of confidence in older people and you may find our recent article about a bedside tool for assessing eye sight helpful when assessing patients.

Our knowledge about sepsis is growing all the time and it is an area where nurses have to keep up to date with current best practice to help save lives. In January we published an update on sepsis and next month we will follow this up with a NIHR research study summary which looks at the importance of administering antibiotics within an hour of diagnosis.

I hope you enjoy this archive issue and please feedback on any topics you would like us to feature. Email me at



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