A round-up of news from the professional journals
Courses in nursing and midwifery were boosted by more than 2,000 extra students during 1999/2000, English National Board figures show. The population of nursing students increased by 2,287 on the previous year, a rise of 4.6 per cent. RCN senior research officer John Stock said, "While it is too soon to say we are making real inroads into nursing shortages, this is something to build on".
Death by work
When ICU nurses are subjected to severe workloads, mortality among hospital patients has been proved to double beyond expected rates. Infections, errors, delays in weaning patients from mechanical ventilation and complications induced by medical treatment are all more likely in hospitals when staff are overworked.
Nurses have been decision-makers when administering drugs secretly, and the practice is reportedly a daily event in many care homes and hospitals. Senior nursing staff admitted to covertly feeding drugs in more than 70 per cent of the institutions studied, although this figure may be much higher in reality.