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Hundreds of nurses have taken their own lives in just seven years

The figures are an alarming 23 per cent higher than the UK average.

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Doctors, dentists and vets are also ‘at an increased risk of suicide’.

Figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, have revealed that over three-hundred nurses died by suicide between 2011 and 2017.

The highest recorded year was 2014, when 54 deaths – more than one per week on average – were recorded.

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The figures are an alarming 23 per cent higher than the UK average.

A recent study also revealed that female nurses are more at risk of dying by suicide than those in other professions. Other healthcare professionals such as; doctors, dentists and vets were also identified as being ‘at an increased risk of suicide’. The study suggests that rates are higher amongst these groups due to having “access to, or knowledge of, a method of suicide”. 

The families of those that have died are calling for vital mental health training and support alongside the end to the ‘toxic culture’ in the health service that has left so many feeling alone.

As reported by the Mirror, Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, has called for a government inquiry into these figures – calling every life lost a “desperate tragedy”. 

‘A decrease in the wellbeing of the nursing profession’.

The Royal College of Nursing claims employers often “ignore or disregard mental health issues”. 

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the unions, said; “These figures are a cause of great concern to the nursing profession. Every life lost is heart-breaking for their friends, family and colleagues. It is never inevitable and we must all redouble our efforts to support nursing staff.

“The current guidance issued to staff and workplaces goes some way but further work must be undertaken. The Government and all NHS bodies must take a detailed look at why female nurses are much more likely to take their lives than male counterparts, other health professionals or the wider public.

“Nurses have long been considered a key high-risk group for suicide, due to the strain and level of responsibility of their role. But our members repeatedly say that their employers ignore or disregard mental health issues. They feel they ‘should cope’ but our counselling service gives support when nursing staff are unable to, including with suicidal thoughts.

“There has been a decrease in the wellbeing of the nursing profession and workplace. Nursing staff experience high levels of stress, a shortage of colleagues and long working hours. The RCN’s ‘Healthy workplace’ toolkit promotes better environments and self-care within the workforce and it is time for NHS organisations to implement it.”

Help and support is available right now if you need it.

You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123, Campaign Against Living Miserably – for men on 0800 58 58 58, Papyrus on 0800 068 41 41 and NHS 111 is able to signpost to specific services in your area.

Clinical Care

Hourly rounding ‘may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care’, finds study

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

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Nurse with patient in bed

Hourly rounding made a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

A new report by researchers at King’s College London has found that the widespread practice of hourly or intentional rounding, may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care to patients.

The report also found that rounding makes a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

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Hourly or intentional rounding involves standardised regular checks with individual patients at set intervals and was introduced in hospitals in England in 2013, with 97% of NHS acute Trusts in England implementing it in some way.

The majority of NHS trusts adopted the ‘4Ps’ (Position, Pain, Personal needs, Placement of items) model of rounding.

The research was commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and was led by Professor Ruth Harris in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care.

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

The NIHR report – Intentional rounding in hospital wards to improve regular interaction and engagement between nurses and patients: a realist evaluation – is the first study of its kind in the world.

The study found that rounding placed an emphasis on transactional ‘tick box’ care delivery, rather than individualised care. However, patients were found to value their interactions with nursing staff, which the study argues could be delivered during other care activities and rather than through intentional rounding.

The report also found that rounding was implemented without consultation, careful planning and piloting in the interests of political expediency following the Francis Inquiry Report into care failures in the NHS.

Ruth Harris, Professor of Health Care for Older Adults at King’s College London, said; “Checking patients regularly to make sure that they are OK is really important but intentional rounding tends to prompt nurses to focus on completion of the rounding documentation rather than on the relational aspects of care delivery.

“Few frontline nursing staff or senior nursing staff felt intentional rounding improved either the quality or the frequency of their interactions with patients and their family.”

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Clinical Updates

Nurses’ ‘worry’ better than most early warning scores, finds study

Nurses were asked to grade patients between ‘no concern’ and ‘extreme concern’. 

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Observations

A sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration.

Nurses’ worry has a “higher accuracy” than most published early warning scores (EWS) at predicting if a patient is becoming more unwell, according to a recent study.

The study looked at 31,159 patient-shifts for 3185 patients during 3551 hospitalisations across two surgical and two medical wards. Researchers compared if the nurses were worried about a patients potential for deterioration using ‘the Worry Factor’ with early warning score indicators.

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Nurses were asked to grade each patient between “no concern” and “extreme concern”.

The Worry Score

Out of 492 potential deterioration events identified, researchers found that when nurses had an increasing worry factor the patient was more likely to require emergency medical treatment – 7 cardiac arrest calls, 86 medical emergency calls and 76 transfers to the intensive care unit.

The study also revealed that accuracy rates were significantly higher in nurses with over a year of experience.

The researchers concluded that “nurses’ pattern recognition and sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration” and was often more reliable than traditional early warning systems.

They also noted that the worry score could be used alone or easily incorporated into existing EWS to potentially improve their performance.

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