Ed's Letter

1 July 2013

Winter ‘flu season looms

Winter always puts health services under greater stress. The seasonal ailments and bugs that bring more patients through the door can also lead to fewer nurses on the floor. Last year, 46 per cent of district health board nurses got vaccinated against the ‘flu.

This edition’s subscriber-only professional development article explores the debate around the value, ethics, and efficacy of health professionals getting the annual ‘flu vaccination. Because of the timeliness of the topic Nursing Review will be putting the article up (the learning activity remains subscriber only) online at www.nursingreview.co.nz on a one-off basis. Feedback is welcomed.

Our focus section this edition looks at nursing efforts to stem the tide of long-term conditions plus initiatives to recruit, retain, and fast-track the next generation of aged care nurses.

We also profile two new national nursing leaders – read on and find out who relaxes by catching a wave and who by playing the ‘beautiful game’.


CLARIFICATION: Ready to take the Medicine (April edition)

A registered nurse CAN provide advice about over-the-counter (OTC) medicines like paracetamol without a standing order from a doctor. However, the nurse must be knowledgeable and accountable for their advice, including making and documenting a comprehensive nursing assessment. Some of the latest advice for nurses on recommending OTC medicines can be read online at Nursing Review: Advising on OTC medicines at bit.ly/16eL96L

RNs still can’t prescribe OTC medicines but Nursing Council chief executive Carolyn Reed says its proposal to bring in RN prescribing has received “huge interest” with about 200 largely supportive submissions. Analysis of the submissions and recommendations based on the feedback is due to go to the Council’s August meeting.