Infection Resources

19 June 2020

The ability to recognise the need for debridement is a vital skill for general practice nurses (GPNs), since it is an important part of preparing the wound for healing. Debridement removes dead tissue within the wound that can otherwise provide a physical barrier to healing, while also providing an ideal environment for micro-organisms, increasing the risk of infection. In order for healing to progress, it is important to debride the wound promptly. Failure to do so can result in wound chronicity and an associated impact on resources and patient quality of life. While there are different methods of debridement available, this article focuses on autolytic and mechanical, explaining how they work and their benefits and limitations.

Topics:  Infection
12 December 2019

Surgical wound dehiscence develops when the edges of a surgical incision separate along the suture line due to infection or suboptimal healing, leading to an open wound. Surgical wound dehiscence can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life, increases the demands on healthcare professionals’ time and is costly to the health economy. Over 50% of patients with surgical wound dehiscence are managed in the community and treating these types of wounds is challenging. General practice nurses (GPNs) need to be aware of those patients that are more likely to present with surgical wound dehiscence and take a preventative approach, as well as understanding the principles of best practice for assessment and management when caring for this group of patients.

Topics:  Surgery
25 March 2019

Bronchiectasis, formally known as non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis, is the dilation of the small airways resulting in persistent cough, sputum production and recurrent chest infection, and develops as a result of insult and damage to the airways. The disease is more common in women than men and has an increasing incidence and prevalence. Early recognition of the signs and symptoms of bronchiectasis will support prompt investigations and management to reduce disease progression. This article gives an overview of bronchiectasis, its causes, treatment and management. It also discusses the role of general practice nurses (GPNs) in identifying and treating patients with the condition.

Topics:  phlegm
10 August 2018
Atopic eczema is becoming more prevalent across all age groups. It is a condition that occurs in childhood and can resurface or develop for the first time in later life in those who may/may not have previously had asthma or hayfever. Other forms of eczema, such as asteatotic eczema (where the skin is abnormally dry) and varicose eczema (which affects the lower limbs and is common alongside varicose veins), often develop in older people, while irritant or allergic contact dermatitis can develop as a result of occupational activities or hobbies which involve contact with disinfectants or petroleum products. Management of atopic eczema involves leave-on topical creams in mild cases, to the use of systemic immunosuppressive medication in severe cases. However, understanding environmental factors and physiological changes that can occur in atopic eczema, and which can affect the severity of the condition, can assist general practice nurses (GPNs) to eliminate or reduce patients’ exposure, thus improving the control of the condition and reducing the risk of exacerbations.
Topics:  Infection
23 March 2016

Welcome to GPN’s learning zone. By reading the article in each issue, you can learn all about the key principles of subjects that are vital to your role as a general practice nurse. Once youhave read the article, evaluate your knowledge on this topic by answering the 10 questions in the e-learning unit; all answers can be found in the article. If you answer the questions correctly, you can download your certificate which can be used in your continuing professional development (CPD) portfolio as evidence of your continued learning and contribute to your revalidation portfolio.

This article highlights the role of general practice nurses (GPNs) in the care of a variety of wounds that are becoming 
increasingly commonplace in primary care. GPNs have a unique opportunity to develop their skills in this field,  articularly as there is a plethora of wound care products available to them on prescription. However, it is also the GPN’s professional duty to ensure that they have the understanding and knowledge necessary to use these products in a way that benefits patients clinically as well as providing cost-effective care. 

Topics:  Delayed healing