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Practice nurses need more training in treating chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

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Practice nurses need more education and training on how to care for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), suggest UK researchers.

NICE guidelines recommend that patients with CFS should be managed in primary care, and PNs are increasingly becoming involved in the management of patients with long-term conditions.

But Manchester University researchers – who questioned 29 PNs – found they had very limited knowledge of CFS, and little understanding of the evidence-base for its treatment, particularly psychological therapies.

They also found that some of the nurses had negative attitudes towards patients with CFS, with some describing patients with the condition as ‘lazy’.

‘Training must begin by addressing negative attitudes to patients with CFS,’ the authors said online in the journal BMC Nursing.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I have been severely affected by myalgic encephalomyelitis for 21 years & try never to tell any nurse caring for me that I have it because I know that I will probably be treated as a malingering neurotic. I only usually admit to having my other diagnosed condition,fibromyalgia.

    Despite the large number of nurses that contract M.E. (outbreaks of M.E. among nurses, such as at the Royal free in 1955 are well documented) and despite the fact that M.E. has been classified as a neurological illness by the World health organisation, prejudice against us by the medical profession is very real.

    Maybe when the Whittmore Peterson institute finally develops a diagnostic test we will be believed and given the biomedical treatment we need, instead of the cognitive behaviour and graded exercise therapies that all patient groups have found to be at best useless and at worst harmful. The NICE guidelines on M.E. are about to be challenged in court as unfit for the purpose.

    It would be wonderful when the nursing profession finally approach us with the same attitudes they have to sufferers of other neurological illness such as MS and Parkinson's.

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