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Practice makes perfect

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VOL: 97, ISSUE: 26, PAGE NO: 51

Carol Law, MA, RGN, RCNT, RNT, is senior lecturer and scheme leader, respiratory care, University of Hertfordshire

At first glance the only theme in this edition of NTplus Respiratory Care may appear to be that two of the articles focus on tuberculosis.

At first glance the only theme in this edition of NTplus Respiratory Care may appear to be that two of the articles focus on tuberculosis.

However, on closer inspection it is apparent that all reflect the need for nurses to develop new skills and insights into care. Nursing practice is not static and practitioners working in all areas of the profession need to adapt and develop in line with current developments.

This is not always easy and can often be quite frightening. The longest day of the year has only just passed and it seems difficult to imagine that all too soon the annual influx of people with acute respiratory conditions associated with winter will begin. Many of these patients will be acutely ill, but instead of being admitted to high-dependency or intensive care units they will be nursed on general wards. Moves to develop hospital-at-home and early-discharge services may also mean that staff in primary health care settings will be caring for people who are more ill than usual. Nurses asked to care for such people will need to consider their learning needs in relation to this client group.

In A First Class Service (1999), the Department of Health says that lifelong learning and continuing professional development are integral to the delivery of quality care. Health professionals are expected to meet the needs of patients, deliver care outcomes and focus on the priorities of the NHS while developing to their full personal potential. When discussing their professional development plans, nurses facing these challenges should therefore consider how their needs and the needs of the service provider could best be met.

In this way both the nurse and the service can grow. The articles on non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, the management of TB and the creation of local policy guidelines all illustrate how expertise can be achieved through practice development.

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