Student nurse Jo helps improve skin care across ABMU hospitals

A fresh approach to skin care from a dedicated student nurse has helped change how elderly patients are cared for in hospitals across ABMU.

Jo Gwilym-Edwards

Jo Gwilym-Edwards, a second year adult nursing student at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences, queried existing nursing practices after attending a study day – and then offered research evidence to support her point.

After listening to a discussion about barrier creams used with incontinent patients, at Wound Care Alliance UK event in April, Jo realised familiar brands no longer used in adult wards in some UK hospitals were still being used by ABMU.

Jo said: “I asked why they had been banned and was told these creams were designed for babies and the pH levels of older patients’ skin weren’t as receptive to them.  Also, the incontinence products used had a different top layer from nappies which, when in contact with these particular creams repelled moisture, keeping it next to the skin rather than absorbing it, taking it away from the skin. 

“This concerned me as the consequences of continuing with this practice could be detrimental to the patient.”

After contacting AMBU to express her worries, Interim Assistant Director of Nursing Cathy Dowling asked Jo to tell her more. Jo said:

“I researched it, provided a few articles supporting what I had heard at the event and gave details of where I had seen it in practice.” 

As a result, ABMU’s Medicines Management Board advised that Sudocrem, Drapolene and Metanium barrier creams be removed from stock on all ABMU adult wards, and replaced with an alternative barrier cream, Cavilon.

Jo was also told that the Wound Care Guide was being updated to clarify acceptable barrier cream products.

Jo added: “I am very pleased with the outcome. It will mean our patients are receiving more appropriate care and it may reduce lesions caused by inappropriate products.  I was very encouraged that my concerns were acted on.”

Cathy Dowling said: “We were delighted that Jo contacted us to pass on what she had learned at her study day. We were very impressed with the initiative she demonstrated, and it’s clear that student nurses like Jo have the makings of excellent future NHS leaders.”

Gwyneth Warner, programme manager for the Adult Nursing course at Swansea University’s College of Human and Health Sciences, added: “Jo is a very motivated student who always wants to provide the best care for patients. Jo is a role model for current and future students as students can make a difference and their contribution to patient care is recognised and valued. I am very proud of Jo and I know that her commitment and dedication to improving patient care will continue throughout her nursing carer.”

For more information about the health, nursing, midwifery, social care, social policy and psychology courses on offer by the College of Human and Health Sciences,  Swansea University go to http://www.swansea.ac.uk/humanandhealthsciences