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.
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.