‘Legal highs’ and mental health: raising nurse awareness

The use of novel psychoactive substances (NPS) or ‘legal highs’ is an emerging issue worldwide. There is rising concern around the risks of NPS and the detrimental effects on individuals’ mental health. How can you as a nurse identify and manage risks around NPS in your everyday nursing practice? By David & Bernadette Solomon

Talking about safe practice: A way to look after yourself, your colleagues, and your...

In this learning activity, we’ll look at how every day talk contributes – and could contribute more – to safety for patients. 

Think delirium: The role of the nurse in the prevention and detection of delirium?

The term delirium comes from the Latin word deliriare – literally "to jump out of the furrow while ploughing". This sudden and acute temporary change from the normal is now commonly associated as a problem of old age. How can you as a nurse apply evidenced-based knowledge on preventing and identifying delirium into your everyday nursing practice?

Shared decision-making: Where self-management and clinical expertise meet?

The rhetoric around self-management for people with long-term conditions recognises that they themselves are the most concerned and constant contributor to their own care and that what they know is an untapped resource. At the same time, professionals are being advised to share decision-making, but does this go far enough? For the person living with a long-term condition, part of their work is to manage relationships and interactions with an array of health professionals and other helpers – amongst them, nurses. Just as professionals look for interest and engagement from those they care for – whether identified as patients, clients, consumers, or service-users – that expectation is mutual. In this learning activity, we’ll look at what shared decision-making means, especially for people with long-term conditions.

“I didn’t want that”: Assessing cultural needs during end-of-life care

Although cultural needs is a common component in many nursing assessment tools, it is not unusual to find this section left blank, especially in end-of-life care plans. This article explores the challenges associated with cultural needs assessment, and outlines strategies for ensuring the individual needs of patients and their families related to cultural care are identified and addressed.

You’re worth more than the crumbs! Keeping professionally healthy in 2013 and beyond

A large focus of health professional responsibilities involves encouraging consumers to adopt lifestyle practices aimed at achieving and maintaining good health. Despite providing consumers with well-rationalised and varied methods for promoting optimal health, many nurses are not heeding their own advice. Why do nurses fail to ‘walk their talk’ and what are some of the impacts of nurses failing to honour their own needs?

Hospital visitors: visiting in our hospital or are we visiting in their lives

There is increasing evidence of the potential contribution that visitors can make to patient wellbeing and recovery. Although some district health boards in New Zealand have recently relaxed visiting hours, others have not. This article explores perspectives on hospital visiting and including visitors as valued members of the health care team. By Lesley Batten and Marian Bland.

In pursuit of evidence: Your role in making research count in everyday practice

There’s a rather wonderful and instructive irony in the celebration of International Nurses Day – the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth – with the theme for 2012 of ‘Closing the gap: From evidence to action’. Nightingale represents anything but a gap between evidence and action. Described by her first biographer as a ‘passionate statistician’, she was not only a researcher and research user but also a designer of research graphics. Her successes in reforming military health services and standardising hospital statistics are exemplars of how to use evidence to drive improvements in practice. In this learning activity, we’ll explore our contemporary responsibilities and opportunities for bringing evidence to everyday nursing decision-making and actions.

Change management: a classic theory revisited

Change management is fundamental to quality and improvement processes. It is also at the heart of leadership. Those implementing change need first to disrupt the status quo, secondly, to move everyone and everything involved to a new way of doing things, and finally, to ensure that the new practice and processes cannot change back to the former state. In this learning activity, we’ll revisit Lewin’s classic theory of planned change in the light of new thinking about resistance and readiness. By Shelley Jones.

Lethal SCARs: Serious drug allergies and nursing

Drug allergies can range in severity from mild to life-ending. While we may be familiar with some severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, other reactions that are unpredictable and independent of the drug dose receive less attention, even though they may also be potentially fatal. This article briefly revisits types of serious drug allergies and presents a range of preventative nursing strategies. By Marian Bland and Lesley Batten
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