Nurses can help prevent antibiotic resistance
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Nurses can help prevent antibiotic resistance

Helen Crombie Assistant director, Performance improvement, healthcare associated infections at NHS North West

Helen Crombie shows that non-medical prescribers in community settings are central to advising patients about the appropriate use of antibiotics

The Department of Health recently highlighted the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in the UK. It will become more difficult to treat infection as resistance grows, with worrying implications for patient care. It is important that antibiotics are used in the right way to achieve the best outcome for patients, slow down resistance and ensure these important medicines continue to stay effective. Antibiotic resistance is a major issue for primary and secondary care, and occurs largely by inappropriate antibiotic prescribing and inadequate compliance to treatment. This article describes the central role that primary care nurses can play in tackling antibiotic resistance and the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections such as Clostridium difficile. This includes informing patients of the risks associated with antibiotic prescribing and helping patients to self-manage minor ailments where appropriate. Advice can affect patients’ perceptions and attitudes towards their condition and perceived need for antibiotics.

Primary Health Care. 22, 5, 16-21. doi: 10.7748/phc2012.06.22.5.16.c9123

Correspondence

helen.crombie@northwest.nhs.uk

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

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