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AAA programme highlights importance of nurse specialist role

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening Programme

The nurse specialist is an important role in the abdominal aortic aneurysm screening pathway.

All men found to have a small (3.0-4.4cm) or medium (4.5-5.4cm) aneurysm are offered an appointment with their local programme’s nurse specialist.

The role of this nurse practitioner/vascular nurse is to assess men and give them appropriate advice on lifestyle changes. They can also refer men on to other specialists and services, such as smoking cessation.

The nurse specialist often has a role in reassuring men who are anxious at being told they have an aneurysm. The appointment is also an opportunity for the nurse specialist to help optimise men’s health.

A screener talking to a man about AAA screening.
The nurse specialist appointment is an opportunity to optimise the health of men on surveillance in the AAA screening programme

The national programme recently held a nurse specialist training and update day in Manchester where there were presentations from national programme manager Lisa Summers, national IT specialist Andrea Procter, local programme nurse specialists Shelagh Murray and Glenda Turton, and myself, national training and education manager.

A summary of topics covered included:

  • the importance of face to face nurse assessments
  • recent updates and reporting within the programme
  • recording nurse appointment data on SMaRT, the national IT system
  • quality assurance in AAA screening and its impact on the role of the nurse specialist

Feedback from the day was excellent and will help shape future national guidance on the nurse specialist role. The programme hopes to run this event annually in future.

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