Monday, April 27, 2015

Three New Papers from the Biomed Central Family of Journals

Joosen MCW, van Beurden KM, Terluin B, van Weeghel J, Brouwers EPM, van der Kilnk JJL. Improving occupational physicians’ adherence to a practice guideline: feasibility and impact of a tailored implementation strategy. BMC Medical Education 2015, 15:82  doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0364-8

Background: Although practice guidelines are important tools to improve quality of care, implementation remains challenging. To improve adherence to an evidence-based guideline for the management of mental health problems, we developed a tailored implementation strategy targeting barriers perceived by occupational physicians (OPs). Feasibility and impact on OPs’ barriers were evaluated. Methods OPs received 8 training-sessions in small peer-learning groups, aimed at discussing the content of the guideline and their perceived barriers to adhere to guideline recommendations; finding solutions to overcome these barriers; and implementing solutions in practice. The training had a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) structure and was guided by a trainer. Protocol compliance and OPs’ experiences were qualitatively and quantitatively assessed. Using a questionnaire, impact on knowledge, attitude, and external barriers to guideline adherence was investigated before and after the training. Results The training protocol was successfully conducted; guideline recommendations and related barriers were discussed with peers, (innovative) solutions were found and implemented in practice. The participating 32 OPs were divided into 6 groups and all OPs attended 8 sessions. Of the OPs, 90% agreed that the peer-learning groups and the meetings spread over one year were highly effective training components. Significant improvements (p < .05) were found in knowledge, self-efficacy, motivation to use the guideline and its applicability to individual patients. After the training, OPs did not perceive any barriers related to knowledge and self-efficacy. Perceived adherence increased from 48.8% to 96.8% (p < .01). Conclusions The results imply that an implementation strategy focusing on perceived barriers and tailor-made implementation interventions is a feasible method to enhance guideline adherence. Moreover, the strategy contributed to OPs’ knowledge, attitudes, and skills in using the guideline. As a generic approach to overcome barriers perceived in specific situations, this strategy provides a useful method to guideline implementation for other health care professionals too.

Jafree SR, Zakar R, Fischer F, Zakar MZ. Ethical violations in the clinical setting: the hidden curriculum learning experience of Pakistani nurses. BMC Medical Ethics 2015, 16:16  doi:10.1186/s12910-015-0011-2

Background: The importance of the hidden curriculum is recognised as a practical training ground for the absorption of medical ethics by healthcare professionals. Pakistan’s healthcare sector is hampered by the exclusion of ethics from medical and nursing education curricula and the absence of monitoring of ethical violations in the clinical setting. Nurses have significant knowledge of the hidden curriculum taught during clinical practice, due to long working hours in the clinic and front-line interaction with patients and other practitioners.

Methods: The means of inquiry for this study was qualitative, with 20 interviews and four focus group discussions used to identify nurses’ clinical experiences of ethical violations. Content analysis was used to discover sub-categories of ethical violations, as perceived by nurses, within four pre-defined categories of nursing codes of ethics: 1) professional guidelines and integrity, 2) patient informed consent, 3) patient rights, and 4) co-worker coordination for competency, learning and patient safety.

Results: Ten sub-categories of ethical violations were found: nursing students being used as adjunct staff, nurses having to face frequent violence in the hospital setting, patient reluctance to receive treatment from nurses, the near-absence of consent taken from patients for most non-surgical medical procedures, the absence of patient consent taking for receiving treatment from student nurses, the practice of patient discrimination on the basis of a patient’s socio-demographic status, nurses withdrawing treatment out of fear for their safety, a non-learning culture and, finally, blame-shifting and non-reportage of errors.

Conclusion: Immediate and urgent attention is required to reduce ethical violations in the healthcare sector in Pakistan through collaborative efforts by the government, the healthcare sector, and ethics regulatory bodies. Also, changes in socio-cultural values in hospital organisation, public awareness of how to conveniently report ethical violations by practitioners and public perceptions of nurse identity are needed.

Ahn K, Jhun HJ. New physical examination tests for lumbar spondylolisthesis and instability: low midline sill sign and interspinous gap change during lumbar flexion-extension motion. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2015, 16:97  doi:10.1186/s12891-015-0551-0

Background: Lumbar spondylolisthesis (LS) and lumbar instability (LI) are common disorders in patients with low back or lumbar radicular pain. However, few physical examination tests for LS and LI have been reported. In the study described herein, new physical examination tests for LS and LI were devised and evaluated for their validity. The test for LS was designated “low midline sill sign”, and that for LI was designated “interspinous gap change” during lumbar flexion-extension motion. Methods The validity of the low midline sill sign was evaluated in 96 patients with low back or lumbar radicular pain. Validity of the interspinous gap change during lumbar flexion-extension motion was evaluated in 73 patients with low back or lumbar radicular pain. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of the two tests were also investigated. Results The sensitivity and specificity of the low midline sill sign for LS were 81.3% and 89.1%, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values of the test were 78.8% and 90.5%, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the interspinous gap change test for LI were 82.2% and 60.7%, respectively. Positive and negative predictive values of the test were 77.1% and 68.0%, respectively. Conclusions The low midline sill sign and interspinous gap change tests are effective for the detection of LS and LI, and can be performed easily in an outpatient setting.


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