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Nurses lacking respiratory training

More nurses without accredited training are taking on advanced roles in the management of patients with respiratory conditions, research shows.

A survey of 470 COPD and asthma nurses carried out by Education for health has found that two thirds of asthma nurses have an advanced role in the care of their patients, 17% higher than that in 1993.

But one fifth of asthma nurses and half of COPD nurses carrying out advanced care do not have accredited training.

Education for health say the figures suggest that not enough nurses have been properly trained in respiratory conditions.

Figures also demonstrated that GPs were not always immediately accessible for patient referrals when nurses were seeing patients, with 41% of asthma nurses and 45% of COPD nurses saying that GPs were not available for consultation.

Education for health say this means that nurses are not given sufficient supervision to undertake many of their duties.

A COPD National Service Framework is due to take place later this year.

Education for Health
Clinical Zone: Respiratory Care

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Europe should catch up with the USA in the treatment of patients with pulmonary diseases and have respiratory therapists take care of these patients. The whole field covers breathing problems of any origin and ICU/Trauma/MI/Peds Neonates etc etc ... it is 2009." - Jereldinne Boyl, California, USA

"I agree completely with the above article." - Anabel Fontes, Portugal

"COPD and asthma management are roles for respiratory therapsits. This is a profession in itself and nurses need to be trained" - Name and address supplied

"Managing long term conditions like asthma and COPD is all about teamwork. Yes, the nurses need adequate training (ie diploma level), and should resist taking on advanced roles until qualified for them. A good IT system is invaluable for supporting the team approach - see article  Gleeson C (2006).  Tool enhances quality of care. Nursing Standard, 8, 9, 28" - Name and address supplied

"Yes. As a Nurse Practitioner in primary care I have both the asthma & COPD diploma, also the Psychology in Asthma compliance module and have just started on my MSc in Respiratory Care with Education for Health. I would encourage all nurses in general practice taking on this role to encourage their GPs to support them through an accredited course" - Sue Russell, Surrey

"My GPs have encouraged me to advance my role and have supported me through diploma level modules in both asthma and COPD. I am just about to embark on a paediatric respiratory course which will further improve the care I provide to young asthmatics as well as the children I see in the Minor
Illness Clinic" - Claire Muir, Nurse Practitioner, Alton Hants