Editorial, Volume Two (1), 2016

Written by Jean Ross

This second edition of the School of Nursing Online Journal continues to build on the first edition and editorial (Ross, 2013) with the aim of advancing the teaching activities and learning opportunities students encounter as a component of their bachelor of nursing programme. Although there has been a lapse in the publication of this journal between 2013 and 2016 students work during 2014-2016 has continued and are published in three separate editions during 2016.

In order for nurses to provide efficient, timely and quality health care it is imperative they engage with the most recent up to date evidence which informs and guides the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of health care in partnership with clients and their whanau/families. Nursing comprises a vast array of clinical experiences from specialist areas such as long term chronic conditions including diabetes and heart disease to acute presentations including emergency and mental health. Health promoting activities are also engaged with by nurses in the primary, secondary and tertiary settings.

This edition 2016 Vol 2 (1) comprises an eclectic array of publications which focus on clinical practice through which students are voicing their thoughts in association with ongoing and future management of health care and ethical concerns they have been exposed to in clinical practice. Gemma Wilson highlights the ethical use of cannabis in the treatment of cancer pain which is further extended by Nika van Eeden’s article which challenges how nurses’ knowledge and attitudes affect the management of pain associated with cancer.

This edition of the journal relates to both tertiary and primary health care contexts. In the community Julia Gilling is interested in reducing child immunization pain and Melissa Jones highlights the concerns of childhood obesity. Further the focus of children is extended by Taryn Hancock with her paper dedicated to sudden infant death syndrome of infants and bed sharing. While Amy Brown continues this thread of community driven health care with her paper related to education for the management of atopic eczema in children. Jessica Stray focuses her interests on the effects of mammography screening and the implications of the harm versus the benefits and equally Stephaine Craig is concerned with elder abuse and offers a thought provoking paper. Two further papers align with health care in tertiary settings firstly, a new initiative that is being trailed and critiqued by Chelsea Blackley who challenges the implementation of electronic prescribing and administration technology results in reduced drug errors. Equally, Christiana Talbot addresses the importance of debriefing critical incidents in the emergency department.

Nurses are required to be in a position to justify the clinical decisions made and do this well, avoid criticism while maintaining and improving the provision of health care. Nurses’ clinical decision-making is based on evidence-based practice, discussed by Polit and Beck (2008) as:

… the use of best clinical evidence in making patient care decisions… such evidence typically comes from research conducted by nurses and other health care professionals. (p. 3)

Nurses’ practice therefore is informed by research and that research is undertaken by nurses’ and other health care professionals. This research evidence forms a part of the data used in which to inform, plan, manage and evaluate health care, in partnership and to work out that the clients’ best interests and health outcomes are maintained and more importantly, improved.  Equally, information from a variety of sources, for example the knowledge and expectations generated by consumers also play a significant component of the nurse-client partnership and decision making in planning health care. Access to information via the internet, by clients has the potential to challenge decisions made by health professionals including nurses. Clients come armed with solution focused health care and need to be reassured that the choices that are made reflect best practice and are individualised to the clients’ needs, while their best interests are being served. Ellis (2016) suggests that information other than research based-evidence will inform nurses’ practice. However, to accommodate additional sources of evidence the nurse requires additional skills in which to establish whether this information is a viable and trustworthy source. The skills nurses are required to possess and demonstrate include being a critical and creative thinker, to question and reflect on practice and be morally active (Ellis, 2016).

The papers published in this journal demonstrate the student authors have acquired critical and creative thinking and are utilising evidence-based research to inform their clinical-decision making in practice, necessary in today’s challenging and technically focused health care environment.