Developing knowledge & skills in nutritional support nursing; a new course for Nutrition Nurse Specialists

Key to improving the quality of care received by those needing nutritional support is training and education of the staff caring for them. Whilst providing good nutritional care is the responsibility of all members of the healthcare team, nurses are at the forefront of delivering this care 24hrs a day. Training in nutritional support care for nurses should be available at all stages of their careers. Indeed this has now been reintroduced to the undergraduate curriculum. Specialist training however is often more difficult to find
and to access.

The course is designed to cover the day to day patient care and management issues faced by NNS’s. Whilst being essential practical in nature, any learning will be underpinned by the relevant theory wherever possible. The underlying premise of this course is that NNS’s will learn and develop their knowledge from listening to and learning from the course teachers and from each other through participation and discussion throughout the whole course. To aid in this teaching will be informal and fluid allowing students to ask questions in an informal and non threatening environment.

The role of the NNS is varied, often determined by the establishment in which they work. Not every student who applies for this course will be undertaking all of the aspects of the role which are covered. However, as both the individual NNS and their working environment grows and changes, so might the role they are expected to fulfil. Therefore although not all NNS’s may be placing catheters for PN, or placing nasal bridles currently, this may be something that in the future it will be helpful to have knowledge of.
As this is essentially a practical course we have decided not to apply for academic validation at this time. This also allows us to keep the cost of attending low, and any written work required by the students to a minimum.