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Practice team blog

Your practice editors Kathryn, Ann, Eileen and Fran talk about nursing in practice

All posts by Eileen Shepherd

Can you accept a free pen?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 4 Jan 2016

In the summer of 2015 the Daily Telegraph drew attention to unhealthy relationships between some health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry. It described lavish trips organised by drug manufacturers to promote their products and ultimately influence purchasing and prescribing practice.

The patients we choose not to touch

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 31 Aug 2015

I recently read the novel Even the Dogs, which is a fascinating insight into the lives of homeless and vulnerable people. The author Jon McGregor describes the stark realities of living on the edge of society, but what is most striking are his references to the importance of touch. He writes about how infrequently positive touch occurs in his characters’ lives, and describes one experience of a consultation with a nurse:

Does mandatory training have to be boring?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdWed, 1 Jul 2015

In his book Do No Harm retired neurosurgeon Henry Marsh described the irritation of taking time away from his work to sit though mandatory training.

'Let's realise the potential of our practice nurses'

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 25 May 2015

I wonder if anyone was surprised by the recent news that a group of GP practices have been placed into special measures.

'Knowledge of how to care for people with dementia is not reaching many staff'

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 20 Apr 2015

A few weeks ago I went to see Still Alice and cried. Despite close contact with people with dementia it was a shock to see a middle-aged woman with the condition, her rapid decline and the impact her illness had on those around her. As a woman in my fifties I was also frightened by what the future might hold.

The Jeremy Clarkson 'fracas' highlights whistleblowing fears

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 16 Mar 2015

I don’t watch Top Gear, and perhaps my dented and increasingly rusty Ford KA explains why. But I am interested in the Jeremy Clarkson affair because until now he has been one of the “untouchables”.

'Patients matter most but staff matter too'

Posted by Eileen ShepherdWed, 11 Feb 2015

The revelations of the Francis Inquiry into care at Mid Staffordshire hospital two years ago made shocking reading. How could something like this happen in our NHS?

Are practice nurses part of the solution to the emergency department crisis?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 12 Jan 2015

The rhetoric of providing health care in the community, away from hospital, has been with us for years but the recent media coverage of problems in EDs illustrates how little progress has been made in shifting care from hospitals to primary care services.

Would you wear gloves to wash a patient’s face and hands?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 1 Dec 2014

When I was a student nurse we were taught that gloves created a barrier between the nurse and patient. So for much of my early nursing career I thought nothing of changing soiled beds, emptying commodes and gathering up sputum pots with bare hands. Although I also remember being obsessed with washing my hands at every available opportunity.

'It is nurses who will have to manage the fallout of poor planning'

Posted by Eileen ShepherdTue, 4 Nov 2014

I was struck last night by a tweet which quoted a CEO of an NHS Trust saying “I’m running the biggest nursing home in Europe. We haven’t done any elective work in years”.

Did you know only 30% of quality improvement projects get embedded and are sustained?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 6 Oct 2014

In my job as clinical editor I see the latest trends in quality improvement as hospitals quickly implement the latest policy or idea but I often wonder what happens in the long term when the initial fuss has died down? How often do we see a five or ten year follow-up of a nursing innovation?

Have you ever had a near miss with a blood transfusion?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 8 Sep 2014

Over the past few weeks I have edited a five-part series on blood transfusion, which has reminded me of the multiple points at which things can go seriously wrong, from taking a cross-match blood sample to administration of a blood transfusion.  

'We can't all set off to Sierra Leone or Liberia to look after people with ebola'

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 4 Aug 2014

I can’t imagine what it is like to look after someone with ebola but I got an insight last week when BBC news interviewed a nurse who had just seem a baby die from the virus.

Should we charge for GP appointments?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 14 Jul 2014

A few weeks ago nurses at RCN congress hotly debated a controversial resolution to introduce a standard charge for GP appointments. Thankfully it was overwhelmingly rejected.

Why do we need to know about legal highs?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 16 Jun 2014

I have two teenage children who have been through a school system that claims to educate them about the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse. In year five of primary school they both graduated from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education programme and have regular PHSE classes at secondary school.

Let’s face it, there is no additional money

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 19 May 2014

As part of my job I get out to conferences and meet nurses who have taken some time out to learn and network with others. I also spend too much time looking at Twitter, which gives the impression that everyone who works in the NHS spends most of their time at conferences.

Listening is harder than you think

Posted by Eileen ShepherdWed, 16 Apr 2014

After Mr Benn’s death was announced a few weeks ago I thought about that conversation and was struck by how my experience compared to so many others. Mr Benn had an amazing ability to listen, ask relevant questions and appear genuinely interested in my answers. When he got off the train I realised that he had said very little about himself and why he was on a train to Leicester but he had found out a lot about me.

Why is it so difficult to give a patient a drink?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 17 Mar 2014

How difficult can it be to take a glass of water, put it to a patient’s lips and get them to drink?

Is removing RCN indemnity insurance really a small change?

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 17 Feb 2014

I was shocked last week by the RCN’s decision to remove indemnity insurance from most nurses.

Trusts must resist the temptation of a 'quick fix'

Posted by Eileen ShepherdMon, 20 Jan 2014

It is nearly a year on from the Francis report and the launch of our Speak Out Safely campaign to ensure staff will be supported when they raise concerns about care. It was disappointing, therefore, to read the recent CQC inspection of Barts Health Trust.