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Preparing for your Placement on a Respiratory Ward

Matt B

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Your placement within Respiratory Medicine will be a unique opportunity to gain skills and experience with patients suffering with both long-term (chronic) and short-term (acute) respiratory illnesses. You could undertake this placement during any point in your course – a good basic knowledge of respiratory illness will benefit you greatly.

Your placement will typically be on a medical ward and will primarily deal with respiratory cases although within some trust respiratory medicine is mixed with medical cardiology to create a cardiorespiratory ward – this is because the two specialties are closely linked and share multiple traits.

RELATED: PREPARING FOR YOUR PLACEMENT IN CRITICAL CARE

What to Expect from your Placement

The ward routine will differ from trust to trust, but this is something you will pick up quickly.

You will see the day-to-day management of chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis and possibly cystic fibrosis. These patients are usually very independent and very informed about their conditions.

There will also be plenty of patients with acute conditions such as ‘community acquired pneumonia’ (CAP), ‘hospital acquired pneumonia (HAP), pneumonitis, upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), pulmonary oedema, pneumothorax and other varying kinds of chest sepsis.

If you get the chance, you should take the opportunity to gain experience with Tracheostomies, providing basic care, suctioning and weening.

You should get plenty of experience managing a septic patient. You should familiarise yourself with ‘Sepsis 6‘ and clinical escalation within your trust; Doctors, CCOT, Emergency Medical Teams, Hospital at Night etc.

Finally you may get the chance to see patients using non-invasive ventilation (NIV), the device is a way of removing carbon dioxide from a patients blood without fully ventilating them on intensive care. Beware however, the NIV device can only be used by Registered Nurses who have completed a competency assessment. 

Preparing for your Placement

There are a few things you can do to prepare for your respiratory placement;

Try and visit your placement before you start. Wards can vary greatly. Visit the area you have been assigned to before you start and ask if there is anything you should be aware of prior to starting.

Identify your learning needs and outcomes. Identify these early and be aware of the skills you want to develop or learn – this will help you get the most from your placement.

Brush up on your anatomy and physiology. Familiarise yourself with the mechanism of breathing and gas exchange.

Learn the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Respiratory Failure. There is a critical different between type 1 and type 2 respiratory failure – it is important you have a good grasp of this concept.

Research area-specific medications. You should read about commonly used bronchodilators, inhalers, diuretics, anti mucolytic agents and antibiotics. You could also invest in the Drugs in Use (Nursing and Health Survival Guides)Preparing for your Placement on a Respiratory Ward.

Look at types of oxygen delivery. Nasal cannula, high-flow, low-flow, venturi masks, trachy masks.

Look at ABCDE assessments and their importance. This systematic approach is used for the assessment and treatment of patients ABCDE model.

You should also familiarise yourself with good inhaler techniques as this is a skill respiratory nurses teach on a daily basis.

Getting the most from your placement

Respiratory wards and usually very busy places, although you are supernumerary their will be jobs you’ll be asked to undertake independently once deemed able. There will be the chance to easily obtain learning outcomes and measures of practice.

You should use this placement to gain experience managing a patient load, managing a septic patient, clinical decision-making and, if possible, arranging insight visits with specialist areas.

The final and most important piece of advice I can give you is to ask questions and get involved. 

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Lucozade is no longer as effective at treating hypoglycemia

James M

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Lucozade is no longer as effective at treating hypoglycemia

Due to changes in its recipe and a significant reduction in glucose, Lucozade will not be as effective as a treatment for hypoglycemic patients.

Recipe changes to Lucozade Original Energy product line mean it will no longer be as effective at treating hypoglycemic patients – this is due to a 50% reduction in glucose based carbohydrates. Healthcare Professionals should seek guidance from their local specialist team on alternative treatment protocols.

This change applies to all Lucozade Energy Flavours. New products started appearing on shelves in April 2017. However, for a short time, both the new and old recipe will be available.

Previously, 100ml of Lucozade Original contained 17g of carbohydrate; this was reduced to 8.9g in April 2017.

Lucozade is no longer as effective at treating hypoglycemia

According to Diabietes.co.uk, patients who experience a hypoglycemic episode are advised to consume 15-20g of sugar when treating low blood sugar, but this will no longer be equivalent to 100ml of Lucozade.

Lucozade Ribena Suntory, which also makes Ribena and Orangina, among other drinks, is lowering its sugar content by replacing these sugars with low-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame.

You can also visit www.lrsuntory.com/health for more information on Lucozade’s changing nutritional values or speak to your local diabetes specialist team.

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Education

Shift Planner for Nurses, Students & Support Staff

Matt B

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Shift Planner for Nurses, Students & Support Staff

Shift planning is essential for safe care, some people using a piece of paper others have their thoughts well arranged in their head, either way everybody does it.

This shift planner has been designed with newly qualified nurses and student nurses in mind but would be suitable for anybody to use.

You can download our Shift Planner for FREE. You are free to download, print and distribute our shift planner as you wish. You will need a PDF reader on your PC to download. 

The planner has been created with two primary columns, one for your main nursing priorities and one to remind you to hand over jobs to the next shift. It also features a small key and area for general notes. Due to limited space we have only included enough room to plan up to eight patients, if you need more we encourage you print doublesided.

We encourage you to make comments or suggestions in the comments section below. The most popular will be implemented in a version 2.

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