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Nurse Updates

Our updates are ideal for bite-sized CPD and study group discussions!

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Supporting you throughout your CPD journey - one update at a time.

Our regular updates or ‘Pearls’ are topical items relating to nursing in primary care. Each one is drawn from the latest research, clinically relevant to issues in general practice, and linked to an article in our handbook.

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Red Whale ‘Pearl’ updates are copyright free so you can print off as many hard copies as you like and forward soft copies to your colleagues to your heart's content. All we ask is that you acknowledge us as the source.

Valproate and pregnancy hits the headlines

05 Oct 2017

The BBC recently highlighted this issue with the headline “Epilepsy drug warnings 'not reaching women', survey shows”. The article reports that the Epilepsy Society is calling on the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to make immediate changes to prevent GPs issuing repeat prescriptions to women for more than 12 months without face-to-face consultations with them.

What is the correct way to manage ear wax?

21 Mar 2017

Ear wax: not the most glamorous of issues Practice Nurses deal with. Nevertheless, it is a problem that patients can find very troublesome and distressing – and a problem that comes our way on a regular basis. But what is the correct way to manage ear wax?
Unsurprisingly, there is an almost total absence of evidence regarding its management.
Surprisingly, the BMJ recently published a review on ear wax!

Knees, hips, back: osteoarthritis can affect them all!

30 Nov 2016

Knees, hips, back: osteoarthritis can affect them all! Every day we see patients who are affected in some way by changes in their joints. Osteoarthritis is no longer considered a disease, but a ‘common complex disorder’. So, how do we understand, diagnose and manage this common complex disorder?

Vitamin D and bone health

27 Oct 2016

The lack of sunshine at this time of year means we do not synthesise enough vitamin D for our needs. Some are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than others.

Travel vaccinations at short notice

19 Oct 2016

"I know it's last minute, but I am flying out at the end of the week to Kenya. I think I need some vaccinations. Can you sort them out for me?"

Assessing and managing the common cold

12 Oct 2016

The common cold: not a glamorous topic, but a significant issue for patients and GPNs.

Exercise - what? How much?

05 Oct 2016

There is good evidence that small changes in activity levels, like walking 20 min a day, can reduce cardiovascular events by 10%. You don't have to go to the gym, you don't have to wear lycra and it doesn't need to cost you anything.

Vaginal discharge - normal or abnormal?

27 Sep 2016

With vaginal discharge, we must start by determining what is normal and what is not. Women may interpret normal physiological processes as abnormal and symptomatic of infection or disease.

Assessing and helping carers

21 Sep 2016

Since 1 April 2015, carers are recognised in law in the same way as those they care for. They are entitled to assessment where they appear to have needs.

New ways to use CHCs

13 Sep 2016

Extended use of combined hormonal contraception, shortened pill free interval, tailored regimes for combined hormonal contraception.....Confused?

A 'safe' level of drinking alcohol does not exist

05 Sep 2016

Risk of harm increases with either frequency of consumption or the amount consumed in each drinking session.

Not all 'manky' nails are fungal infections!

31 Aug 2016

Not all 'manky' nails have a fungal infection! What are the other causes of 'manky' nails? How do we confirm the diagnosis? Should we treat fungal nail infections, and, if so, how?

Travellers' diarrhoea

31 Aug 2016

"Last time I travelled overseas, I had terrible diarrhoea. It really spoiled my holiday. Can you give me some antibiotics to take just in case it happens again on this trip?"

Travellers' diarrhoea is the most likely health problem your patients will meet when travelling.

Runny noses, sneezing, itching and obstruction

17 Aug 2016

With a late start to summer, we are still seeing plenty of runny noses with sneezing, itching and obstruction...

Patients still die from asthma in the UK

09 Aug 2016

Patients still die from asthma in the UK. In fact the numbers per year are higher than other European countries. How can we do better?

Mefloquine and malaria prevention

20 Jul 2016

There has been controversy about the mental health side effects of mefloquine, particularly related to its use among armed services personnel, but it does still have a place in malaria prevention. 

Diabetes management during Ramadan

06 Jun 2016

Today, Monday 6th June, is the first day of Ramadan (subject to moon sighting).
Again in 2016 in the UK Ramadan will be challenging as it coincides with the longest days in the year.

E-cigarettes: do they work?

13 Apr 2016

Electronic cigarettes are now easily available for those wishing to give up smoking.
But do they work?