Festive bog and a time to reflect

The festive season is well underway and often a time to reflect on the year’s events. This year, as in previous years, nursing and healthcare has often dominated the news both in terms of local nursing issues, national challenges in the provision of robust and effective health services and global health issues. The weekly Evidence Based Nursing (EBN) blog has enabled the editorial team and our guest bloggers to raise issues that not only have personal resonance but are thought provoking, often responding quickly to current policy and health issues. Below I have highlighted some of the ENB blogs that I found particularly interesting throughout the year.

In February, I wrote a blog entitled ‘are nurses inspirational’, outlining the bravery and dedication of British nurse, Edith Cavell who treated allied soldiers of all nationalities and assisted their escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War One, highlighting the compassion and dedication that epitomises nurses and their work throughout history and in current nursing practice. This contrasted with the frustration experienced by Jackie Vasey, guest blogger, who’s blog ‘back to square one’ in April, described her disappointment that despite an abundance of evidence promoting effective pain management in children, effective pain management remains variable with children continuing to experience moderate to severe pain.

In July Roberta Heale, Associate Editor’s, blog ‘RN staffing in hospitals…are we asking the right question’, discussed the thorny issues of adequate staffing levels and the often simplified presentation of related issues including stress, burnout, and retention of nursing staff, highlighting that the changing nature of nursing is rarely addressed or considered, and the workloads of nurses is a much more complex issue.

In August, my blog ‘ebola – a global health problem’, highlighted that ebola has a 90% fatality rate, with an urgent need to identify effective treatments and develop safe immunisation programmes, which contrasted with Allison Shotten, Associate Editor’s blog in September ‘expanding our toolkit for supporting shared decision making’ and the challenges in making shared decision-making a reality when healthcare service resources are stretched. Shared decision-making relates to my own research interests, collaborating effectively with children and families. In light of the immediacy of the ebola outbreak may seem inappropriate, yet information sharing and giving patients a voice in decisions about their care are central to health care delivery where there is an increase in individuals living with long-term conditions and have developed considerable expertise in the management of their condition.

November and December featured three guest blogs; Julie Taylor and Chris Jones focusing on recent research on ‘disabled children and the child protection system’; Nova Corcoran, focused on ‘the rights of the child in nursing and healthcare’ and David Garbutt , focusing on ‘end of life care’. All blogs were linked to the EBN Journal Chat #ebnjc (8-9 pm UK time, on the first and third Wednesday each month) offering readers the opportunity to participate in discussions about the blog posted that week. The twitter chats were particularly lively and a reminder of nurses’ passion in striving to do the best they can for the individuals and their families in need of care and support.

What has struck me again this year is the commonalities of issues facing nurses across the globe, and the inspirational work nurses undertake in a range of contexts, cultures, organisations and settings, and often remain largely invisible. Nurses strive to deliver high quality care despite increasing economic pressures and a need to speak out if care failings are witnessed, and the need to prepare the nurses of the future to be critical reflective thinkers that can deliver evidence based care with comparison. However, variability in practice and challenges in translating evidences into practice remain. Perhaps moving forward into a new year, it is timely to think about what evidenced based nursing is ‘an ongoing process by which evidence, nursing theory, and the practitioner’s clinical expertise are critically evaluated and considered, in conjunction with patient involvement, to provide the delivery of optimum nursing care for the individual’ (Scott & McSherry 2009, p 1089). I am sure many of the issues posted and debated will continue to dominate the nursing, and the healthcare, agenda in 2015. This is the last ENB blog for this year, so here’s wishing you all a fantastic holiday season and prosperous new year.

Jo Smith, Senior Lecturer Children Nursing, University of Huddersfield, Associate Editor EBN Tweet me @josmith175

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