Liz Branscombe RVN DipAVN (Surgical) Consultant editor
As professionals veterinary nurses should always seek to provide the best possible care to their patients. Evidence-based practice will allow to the nurse to make informed decisions and provide a better standard of care. This article provides an introduction to evidence-based practice. It discusses how to source and appraise evidence and implement and evaluate the changes.
Most research on environmental enrichment (EE) for dogs and cats has been conducted in shelters and refuges. It is suggested that certain types of visual, sensory, auditory and olfactory enrichment reduce stress. When incorporated into practice policy, modifications to everyday husbandry can be used as strategies to create an EE programme. The benefits of EE, as shown in rescue shelters, can be extrapolated for use in hospitalized patients and could prove to be an effective stress management tool. Further empirical research within veterinary practice is necessary to evaluate the clinical relevance of EE.
Feline calicivirus (FCV) is an important and widespread virus of the feline population. As a member of the Caliciviridae family, FCV mutates readily in nature, and this has resulted in the recent emergence of a highly virulent haemorrhagic systemic strain. Despite the increased concern about this feline pathogen, little is still known on potential FCV virucidal compounds. On the other hand several experiments on the inactivation behaviour of various surface disinfectants have used FCV as a surrogate to monitor norovirus survival in order to minimize their impact on public health. This has led to a considerable number of studies generating a huge amount of data on FCV inactivation. These findings are presented here and may be useful to veterinary nurses who can improve their practice by minimizing FCV transmission.
Diabetes is a disease that presents in many different forms, but diabetes mellitus is the most common form seen in dogs and cats. Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is more common in dogs than cats and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is more common in cats than dogs. The incidence of diabetes varies depending on the species, age, physical attributes, genetic make up and gender of the animal. Clinical signs almost always include polyuria and polydipsia, but can also include polyphagia, weakness, weight loss, unkempt haircoat and changes in behaviour, among others. There are a number of successful treatment strategies that can enable the diabetic dog or cat to lead a long fulfilling life. Many of these treatment plans require careful monitoring of blood glucose, daily insulin injections and modifications in diet and lifestyle habits. A veterinary nurse who has a good foundation on diabetes disease pathophysiology, treatments and management strategies is not only essential in caring for hospitalized diabetic patients, but is also critical for helping to alleviate pressure on clients who must bear the responsibility of managing their diabetic pet at home.
This article will look at the different dressings available to the equine veterinary practice and their use when dealing with equine wounds. Wounds on the distal limbs of equids can be extremely frustrating and costly for the owner to deal with, therefore, choosing the dressing most suitable for the individual wound is important.
Orthopaedic radiography can be challenging, but also very rewarding when good diagnostic radiographs are produced. This article explains the necessary theory required and details a step by step standard technique to achieve this. Positioning points and tips are given for the shoulder, elbow, pelvis and stifle.
Pharmacodynamics is defined as the science of drug action on the body and pharmacokinetics is defined as the study of what the body does to a drug, namely the study of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination. A basic understanding of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is important, particularly in the discipline of anaesthesia. It allows known and unfamiliar drugs to be used more safely and efficiently and ensures a greater understanding of clinical effect. It allows predictions to be made about the clinical characteristics of anaesthetic and analgesic drugs that may be unfamiliar, increasing understanding about how the drug performs in both healthy and unhealthy patients. Pharmacokinetic properties will also inform about whether individual drugs are suitable for administration by continuous rate infusion.A second article focussing on the principles of pharmacodynamics will appear in a future issue of The Veterinary Nurse.
Conflict management is an integral part of a manager's role, but many managers shy away from tackling difficult situations, because they often lack the necessary skills and experience. Managers' failings in this area of management, however, cannot always be ascribed to a lack of competence. This article draws on research within the fields of management behaviour and social science to examine the causes of workplace conflict and the conflict process itself. A range of factors are identified within both, which act as barriers to effective management. The article concludes that managers cannot always be blamed for poor conflict outcomes, but can and should work to build workplaces where issues are brought out into the open and discussed freely and honestly and where employees take an active role in finding the right solutions.
This article takes a case-based approach to a scenario that occurred in a veterinary practice. The actions of the veterinary nurse are looked at from a legal, professional and ethical perspective, with recommendations for practice suggested.
With Christmas fast approaching, here are a few new books as last minute ideas for presents.