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Communication is the 'key' to helping asthma patients

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Sue Jones is one of Waikato DHB’s newest nurse prescribers-, and her ability to prescribe a wide range of respiratory and especially asthma medications adds a new dimension to her work as a clinical nurse specialist in the Respiratory Department at Waikato Hospital.

"There is a real personal and professional satisfaction is being able to follow the department’s treatment regime right through to prescribing, without needing to find an available doctor to sign that script off," she says.

"The result is less waiting time for the patient attending a hospital clinic, and more continuity between me and the patient."

It’s that connection and communication that she feels is a key to helping asthma sufferers take control of their condition.

"The trick with asthma patients is to break the communication cycle, and take them from simply getting medical advice to a point where they really ‘get it’ and make changes. Once that happens, we don’t see them at hospital again. Their condition becomes manageable, their life is so much better."

Communication is the key. "I’m a translator for my patients. I interpret medical and scientific research and put it into their ‘speak’ so they understand it."

Sue Jones says it is also vital to listen to what the patient says about their condition, as it gives insights into how they are experiencing it and what might be the barriers to making changes.

The pathway to managing asthma is very simple, she says.

Access to the right medication.

Taking the medication at the right time.

Taking it in the right way.

"People with asthma end up in hospital because one of those three things is not happening."

She received confirmation of the Council’s approval for prescribing late March this year, and is now working through her one year supervision period under the mentorship of Waikato Hospital respiratory specialist Dr Harry Gallagher.

- A nurse prescriber is a NZ Nursing Council approved status for nurses who have completed a postgraduate diploma in prescribing and a period of practising under the supervision of an experienced prescriber.

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