• Nurse Education and Communities of Practice.

      Burkitt, Ian; Husband, Charles H.; Mackenzie, Jennifer; Torn, Alison (English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting., 2001)
      The processes whereby nurses develop the skills and knowledge required to deliver individualized and holistic care were examined in a 2-year study of nurses in a range of clinical settings and a university department of nursing in England. Members of two research teams of qualified nurses joined various communities of nursing practice as participating members and simultaneously "shadowed" designated nurses. At day's end, shadowers and shadowees reviewed the day's practice in critical incident interviews. The powerful processes of nurse socialization that create a strong core identity of the "good nurse" proved central to understanding the acquisition, use, and protection of nursing skills. Learning to become a nurse was always situated within particular communities of practice. Learning in such contexts, both in clinical and educational settings, entailed not just mastering a range of intellectual concepts but also learning through embodied performances involving engagement and interaction with the community of practice. The following were among the study recommendations: (1) link educational and clinical settings by helping clinical staff understand their collective role in the educational experience; (2) enhance the mentor and assessor functions; and (3) enable, support, and resource time in education for clinicians and time in practice for educators.
    • Nurses' communication skills: an evaluation of the impact of solution-focused communication training

      Mackintosh, Carolyn; Bowles, N.B.; Torn, Alison (2001)
      This paper describes the evaluation of a short training course in solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) skills. This evaluation examined the relevance of SFBT skills to nursing and the extent to which a short training course affected nurses¿ communication skills. Nurses¿ communication skills have been criticized for many years, as has the training in communication skills that nurses receive. The absence of a coherent theoretical or practical framework for communication skills training led us to consider the utility of SFBT as a framework for a short training course for qualified nurses, the majority of them are registered nurses working with adults. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected: the former using pre- and post-training scales, the latter using a focus group conducted 6 months after the training. Data were analysed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and content analysis. Quantitative data indicated positive changes in nurses¿ practice following the training on four dimensions, and changes in nurses¿ willingness to communicate with people who are troubled reached levels of significance. Qualitative data uncovered changes to practice, centred on the rejection of problem-orientated discourses and reduced feelings of inadequacy and emotional stress in the nurses. There are indications that SFBT techniques may be relevant to nursing and a useful, cost-effective approach to the training of communication skills. Solution focused brief therapy provides a framework and easily understood tool-kit that are harmonious with nursing values.
    • Early experience with the vaginoscopic approach to outpatient microhysteroscopy.

      Okeahialam, Magella G.; Jones, Sian.E.; O'Donovan, Peter J. (2001)
      Objective To assess the outcome of the vaginoscopic approach to outpatient microhysteroscopy using a 2.5-mm semi-rigid hysteroscope without using a speculum, tenaculum or analgesia. Design A prospective observational study. Setting Outpatient hysteroscopy unit of a large district general hospital. Subjects 24 women referred to the outpatient hysteroscopy unit with abnormal uterine bleeding. Results A total of 24 women had vaginoscopic outpatient microhysteroscopy. Of the procedures, 20 (83.4%) were successful using the technique and four (16.6%) failed procedures occurred. Pain was not encountered during the procedure. Conclusion Outpatient hysteroscopy with a semi-rigid 2.5-mm microhysteroscope using the vaginoscopic approach is a well-tolerated and successful technique for the evaluation of abnormal genital tract bleeding.
    • Behaviour modification and gentle teaching workshops: management of children with learning disabilities exhibiting challenging behaviour and implications for learning disability nursing

      Gates, B.; Newell, Robert J.; Wray, J. (2001)
      Background. Challenging behaviours (behaviour difficulties) represent a problem of considerable clinical significance for learning disability nurses, and a source of much human distress. Gentle teaching is a relatively new approach to dealing with behavioural difficulties, and has been received with enthusiasm by clinicians, but has so far received little empirical support. The current study attempted to compare gentle teaching with a well-established alternative (behaviour modification) and a control group. Objectives. To examine the comparative effectiveness of gentle teaching, behaviour modification and control interventions for challenging behaviour amongst children with learning disabilities. Design. Nonrandomized controlled trial. Setting. Service users¿ homes in East Yorkshire. Participants. Seventy-seven children who presented with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour (behaviour difficulties) and their parents. Procedure. One-day workshops in were offered by recognized authorities in either behaviour modification or gentle teaching that were not otherwise involved with the research project. Forty-one participants were recruited to the gentle teaching condition; 36 to behaviour modification; 26 to the control group. Random allocation was not possible, because of the slow uptake by interested parents. Measures was preintervention, and at assessment points up until 12 months following intervention. Analysis. Quantitative analysis of pre¿post differences between the groups, using t-test. Results. In general, no significant differences were found between the treatment groups and controls. Significant improvements were found for both gentle teaching and behaviour modification children over controls on the AAMR ABS XVII (social engagement) subscale. Controls had more contact with medical practitioner (GP) services than behaviour modification children and less than gentle teaching children. Conclusion. Although very few differences were found between the three groups, those that did exist generally favoured behaviour modification. Implications for service provision and learning disability nursing practice are described.
    • The effect of refractive blur on postural stability.

      Anand, Vijay; Buckley, John G.; Scally, Andy J.; Elliott, David B. (2002)
      The effect of refractive blur upon postural stability was investigated under three conditions: normal standing, standing with input from the somatosensory system disrupted and standing with input from the somatosensory and vestibular systems disrupted. Standing stability was assessed using the centre of pressure (COP) signal from force plate data in four young subjects (mean 23.9 ± 3.1 years) and five repeated sets of measurements were taken. The subjects looked straight ahead at a horizontal and vertical square wave pattern of 2.5 cycles (degree)¿1. Under each of the three test conditions, standing stability was measured with the optimal refractive correction and under binocular blur levels of 0, + 1, + 2, + 4, and + 8 D and with eyes closed. In the normal standing condition, dioptric blur had only a mild effect on postural stability. However refractive blur produced large increases in postural instability when input from one or both of the other two sensory systems were disrupted. We hypothesized that dioptric blur would have an even great effect on postural stability if the visual target used was of higher spatial frequency. This was confirmed by repeated measurements on one subject using a target of 8 cycles (degree)¿1. The study highlights the possible importance of an optimal correction to postural stability, particular in situations (or people) where input from the somatosensory and/or vestibular systems are disrupted, and where the visual surrounds are of high spatial frequency.
    • Methodological standards in radiographer plain film reading performance studies.

      Brealey, S.; Scally, Andy J.; Thomas, N. (2002)
      The objectives of this paper are to raise awareness of the methodological standards that can affect the quality of radiographer plain-film reading performance studies and to determine the frequency with which these standards are fulfilled. Multiple search methods identified 30 such studies from between 1971 and the end of June 1999. The percentage of studies that fulfilled criteria for the 10 methodological standards were as follows. (1) Performance of a sample size calculation, 3%; (2) definition of a normal and abnormal report, 97%; (3) description of the sequence of events through which films passed before reporting, 94%; (4) analysis of individual groups of observers within a combination of groups, 50% (5) appropriate choice of reference standard, 80%; (6) appropriate choice of arbiter, 57%; (7) appropriate use of a control, 22%; (8) analysis of pertinent clinical subgroups, e.g. body areas, patient type, 44%; (9) availability of data for re-calculation, 59%; and (10) presentation of indeterminate results, 69%. These findings indicate variation in the application of the methodological standards to studies of radiographer's film reading performance. Careful consideration of these standards is an essential component of study quality and hence the validity of the evidence base used to underpin radiographic reporting policy.
    • Early detection of isolated memory deficits in the elderly: the need for more sensitive neuropsychological tests.

      De Jager, C.; Anderson, Elizabeth J. (formerly Milwain); Budge, M. (2002)
      Background. Early detection of cognitive decline in the elderly is important because this may precede progression to Alzheimer's disease. The aim of this study was to see whether sensitive neuropsychological tests could identify pre-clinical cognitive deficits and to characterize the cognitive profile of a subgroup with poor memory. Methods. A neuropsychological test battery was administered to a community-dwelling sample of 155 elderly volunteers who were screened with CAMCOG at enrolment (mean age 74·7 years). The battery included tests of episodic memory, semantic and working memory, language and processing speed. Results. Episodic memory test z scores below 1 S.D. from the cohort mean identified 25 subjects with `non-robust¿ memory performance. This group was compared to the remaining `robust memory¿ group with a General Linear Model controlling for age, IQ, education and gender. Test performance was significantly different in all tests for episodic and semantic memory, but not in tests for working memory, processing speed and language. CANTAB paired associates learning and spatial recognition tests identified the highest percentages of those in the `non-robust memory¿ group. Processing speed partialled out the age effect on memory performance for the whole cohort, but the `non-robust memory¿ group's performance was not associated with age or processing speed. Conclusions. Sensitive neuropsychological tests can detect performance below the norm in elderly people whose performance on MMSE and CAMCOG tests is well within the normal range. Age-related decline in memory performance in a cohort of the elderly may be largely due to inclusion within the cohort of individuals with undetected pre-clinical Alzheimer's disease or isolated memory impairment.
    • Do we need the health visitor in the clinic?

      Plews, Caroline M.C.; Bryar, R. (2002)
      Objectives: A review of the literature reveals little description of the advisory role of the health visitor in the child health clinic. This paper describes a study which examined content, clients' recall and value to the client of their discussion with the health visitor. Design: Descriptive study; non-participant observation; semi-structured interviews. Setting: One predominantly urban community Trust involving seven volunteer health visitors from seven different child health clinics. A total of 24 clinics were observed. Participants: One hundred clients attending seven child health clinics. Findings: Most mothers reported that speaking with the health visitor had been fairly or very important. Clients' discussion with the health visitors covered a wide range of child-centred issues and concerns. Mothers recalled 79% of all topics discussed during the clinic visit and initiated nearly 59%. Although weighing was considered an important reason for attending clinic by most mothers it did not preclude wanting to speak with the health visitor. However, some mothers did not wish to speak to the health visitor. Conclusion: The health visitor provided an advisory and support service for many of the attending mothers. Most clients reported valuing this intervention. This study support the notion that mothers do not attend the clinic simply for medical services or screening. Attention should be focused on research and development of services which reflect this consumer agenda. Consideration should be given to the appropriateness of health visitors weighing children.
    • Presence of bias in radiographer plain film reading performance studies

      Brealey, S.; Scally, Andy J.; Thomas, N. (2002)
      Purpose To raise awareness of the frequency of bias that can affect the quality of radiographer plain film reading performance studies. Methods Studies that assessed radiographer(s) plain film reading performance were located by searching electronic databases and grey literature, hand-searching journals, personal communication and scanning reference lists. Thirty studies were judged eligible from all data sources. Results A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) demonstrates no statistically significant difference (P=0.25) in the mean proportion of biases present from diagnostic accuracy (0.37), performance (0.42) and outcome (0.44) study designs. Pearson¿s correlation coefficient showed no statistically significant linear association between the proportion of biases present for the three different study designs and the year that the study was performed. The frequency of biases in film and observer selection and application of the reference standard was quite low. In contrast, many biases were present concerning independence of film reporting and comparison of reports for concordance. Conclusions The findings indicate variation in the presence of bias in radiographer plain film reading performance studies. The careful consideration of bias is an essential component of study quality and hence the validity of the evidence-base used to underpin radiographic reporting policy.
    • Problem-based learning: not the emperor’s new clothes

      Haith-Cooper, Melanie; MacVane Phipps, Fiona E. (2003)
      In October 2002 the ex-RCIVI director of education and research Rosaline Steele wrote an editorial in the RCM Midwives Journal on problem-based learning (PBL), entitled 'the emperor's new clothes or a new way of seeing?' This is a response to that article.
    • Including older people with dementia in research:challenges and strategies.

      Hubbard, G.; Downs, Murna G.; Tester, S. (2003)
      This paper examines key challenges and strategies for including older people with dementia in an ethnographic study of quality of life in institutional care settings. The methods of interview and observation are described in relation to meeting four research challenges: verbal communication impairment, memory loss, decision-making capacity, and emotional disposition. A range of strategies for privileging the voice of the person with dementia is recommended which include: using different methods bespoke to each person with dementia; greater flexibility and time; preliminary meetings with the person with dementia; discussions with formal and informal carers; and research training. The researchers also conclude that the use of observation and interview are 'meaning-making occasions' which are qualitatively different but equally valuable for understanding quality of life in care settings.
    • Postural Stability Changes in the Elderly with Cataract Simulation and Refractive Blur

      Anand, Vijay; Buckley, John G.; Scally, Andy J.; Elliott, David B. (2003)
      PURPOSE. To determine the influence of cataractous and refractive blur on postural stability and limb-load asymmetry (LLA) and to establish how postural stability changes with the spatial frequency and contrast of the visual stimulus. METHODS. Thirteen elderly subjects (mean age, 70.76 ± 4.14 [SD] years) with no history of falls and normal vision were recruited. Postural stability was determined as the root mean square [RMS] of the center of pressure (COP) signal in the anterior¿posterior (A-P) and medial¿lateral directions and LLA was determined as the ratio of the average body weight placed on the more-loaded limb to the less-loaded limb, recorded during a 30-second period. Data were collected under normal standing conditions and with somatosensory system input disrupted. Measurements were repeated with four visual targets with high (8 cyc/deg) or low (2 cyc/deg) spatial frequency and high (Weber contrast, ¿95%) or low (Weber contrast, ¿25%) contrast. Postural stability was measured under conditions of binocular refractive blur of 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 D and with cataract simulation. The data were analyzed in a population-averaged linear model. RESULTS. The cataract simulation caused significant increases in postural instability equivalent to that caused by 8-D blur conditions, and its effect was greater when the input from the somatosensory system was disrupted. High spatial frequency targets increased postural instability. Refractive blur, cataract simulation, or eye closure had no effect on LLA. CONCLUSIONS. Findings indicate that cataractous and refractive blur increase postural instability, and show why the elderly, many of whom have poor vision along with musculoskeletal and central nervous system degeneration, are at greater risk of falling. Findings also highlight that changes in contrast sensitivity rather than resolution changes are responsible for increasing postural instability. Providing low spatial frequency information in certain environments may be useful in maintaining postural stability. Correcting visual impairment caused by uncorrected refractive error and cataracts could be a useful intervention strategy to help prevent falls and fall-related injuries in the elderly.
    • An exploration of tutors’ experiences of facilitating problem-based learning. Part 1: An educational research methodology combining innovation and philosophical tradition

      Haith-Cooper, Melanie (2003)
      The use of problem-based learning (PBL) in Health Professional curricula is becoming more wide spread. Although the way in which the tutor facilitates PBL can have a major impact on students’ learning (Andrews and Jones 1996), the literature provides little consistency as to how the tutor can effectively facilitate PBL ( Haith-Cooper 2000 ). It is therefore important to examine the facilitation role to promote effective learning through the use of PBL. This article is the first of two parts exploring a study that was undertaken to investigate tutors’ experiences of facilitating PBL. This part focuses on the methodology and the combining of innovative processes with traditional philosophical traditions to develop a systematic educational research methodology. The study was undertaken respecting the philosophy of hermeneutic phenomenology but utilised alternative data collection and analysis technique. Video conferencing and e-mail were used in conjunction with more traditional processes to access a worldwide sample. This paper explores some of the issues that arose when undertaking such a study. The second article then focuses on exploring the findings of the study and their implications for the facilitation of PBL.
    • Confidence Intervals and Sample Size Calculations for Studies of Film-reading Performance

      Scally, Andy J.; Brealey, S. (2003)
      The relaxation of restrictions on the type of professions that can report films has resulted in radiographers and other healthcare professionals becoming increasingly involved in image interpretation in areas such as mammography, ultrasound and plain-film radiography. Little attention, however, has been given to sample size determinations concerning film-reading performance characteristics such as sensitivity, specificity and accuracy. Illustrated with hypothetical examples, this paper begins by considering standard errors and confidence intervals for performance characteristics and then discusses methods for determining sample size for studies of film-reading performance. Used appropriately, these approaches should result in studies that produce estimates of film-reading performance with adequate precision and enable investigators to optimize the sample size in their studies for the question they seek to answer.
    • An exploration of tutors’ experiences of facilitating problem-based learning. Part 2: Implications for the facilitation of problem-based learning

      Haith-Cooper, Melanie (2003)
      This paper is the second of two parts exploring a study that was undertaken to investigate the role of the tutor in facilitating problem-based learning (PBL). The first part focussed on the methodological underpinnings of the study. This paper aims to focus on the findings of the study and their implications for the facilitation of PBL. Six essential themes emerged from the findings that described the facilitation role. The tutors believed that their facilitation role was essentially structured around the decision of when to intervene and how to intervene in the PBL process. Modelling and non-verbal communication were seen as essential strategies for the facilitator. Underpinning these decisions was the need to trust in the philosophy of PBL. However, within many of the themes, there was a divergence of opinion as to how the role should actually be undertaken. Despite this, these findings have implications for the future role of PBL facilitators in Health Professional Education.
    • Postural stability changes in the elderly during sensory perturbations and dual tasking: the influence of refractive blur

      Anand, Vijay; Buckley, John G.; Scally, Andy J.; Elliott, David B. (2003)
      PURPOSE. To determine the influence of refractive blur on postural stability during somatosensory and vestibular system perturbation and dual tasking. METHODS. Fifteen healthy, elderly subjects (mean age, 71 ± 5 years), who had no history of falls and had normal vision, were recruited. Postural stability during standing was assessed using a force platform, and was determined as the root mean square (RMS) of the center of pressure (COP) signal in the anterior-posterior (A-P) and medial-lateral directions collected over a 30-second period. Data were collected under normal standing conditions and with somatosensory and vestibular system perturbations. Measurements were repeated with an additional physical and/or cognitive task. Postural stability was measured under conditions of binocular refractive blur of 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 D and with eyes closed. The data were analyzed with a population-averaged linear model. RESULTS. The greatest increases in postural instability were due to disruptions of the somatosensory and vestibular systems. Increasing refractive blur caused increasing postural instability, and its effect was greater when the input from the other sensory systems was disrupted. Performing an additional cognitive and physical task increased A-P RMS COP further. All these detrimental effects on postural stability were cumulative. CONCLUSIONS. The findings highlight the multifactorial nature of postural stability and indicate why the elderly, many of whom have poor vision and musculoskeletal and central nervous system degeneration, are at greater risk of falling. The findings also highlight that standing instability in both normal and perturbed conditions was significantly increased with refractive blur. Correcting visual impairment caused by uncorrected refractive error could be a useful intervention strategy to help prevent falls and fall-related injuries in the elderly.
    • Adverse events in drug administration: a literature review.

      Armitage, Gerry R.; Knapman, H. (2003)
      Discussions between the children's services manager at an National Health Service trust, and a children's nursing lecturer from the trust's partnering university clarified that there was a need to establish a greater understanding of the local circumstances surrounding adverse events in drug administration - particularly when those events involved nurses. Indeed it is claimed that nurses spend up to 40% of their time administering drugs. It was agreed that a collaborative research study, specifically designed to explore the nature of drug administration errors, could inform future trust policies and procedures around both drug administration and error, as well as the various university curricula concerning drug administration. This study, supported by senior management in the trust, and the chair of the local research ethics committee, has commenced. The first part of this study -- an introductory literature review, is presented here. The work of O'Shea [J Clin Nurs (1999)8:496-504] is significant in structuring the review that bears a number of recurring themes. It is not the intention of this literature review to reappraise O'Shea's original critique but to expand on her work, offer a contemporaneous perspective in the light of studies and reports published since 1999, and reset the topic in the context of clinical governance. This literature review has already provided an underpinning framework for a pilot questionnaire to staff who have been involved in drug administration errors and is also the basis for curricular input to preregistration students on the subject of risk management and drug administration. In conclusion, several recommendations about the shape of future research are offered.
    • A Review of organisational Stress Management Interventions

      Giga, Sabir I.; Cooper, C.L.; Faragher, B.; Noblet, A.J. (2003)
    • Requesting and interpreting trauma radiographs: a role extension for accident & emergency nurses

      Hardy, Maryann L.; Barrett, Christine (2003-10)
      Government supported expansion of the nursing role within Accident & Emergency (A&E) departments in the United Kingdom (UK) has begun to break down the traditional barriers to professional practice. Today, many nurses working within A&E departments are both requesting and interpreting radiographic examinations as part of their normal working practice. However, role expansion does not occur without increased responsibility. Unsatisfactory requests for radiography and inaccurate radiographic interpretation may result in inappropriate patient treatment, misuse of resources, patient recall and litigation. Nurses undertaking these role extensions need to ensure that their levels of knowledge and skill to perform the role are appropriate and adequately supported. This article summarises the results of a national questionnaire survey of A&E nurse managers that aimed to identify current working practices, including education, training and limitations to practice, with respect to the requesting and interpretation of trauma radiographs by A&E nurses.