Antibiotic resistance – the nurses are part of the solution

Antibiotic resistance – the nurses are part of the solution

Posted on October 4, 2019
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing public health problem across many countries worldwide – in Europe alone, it is estimated that about 33.000 people die every year due to infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria. AMR happens in patients in who antibiotics do not make the desirable effect, because the microbes that are causing their disease are able to continue growing as if the antibiotics were not there.
One of the underlying causes of AMR is the extensive use of antibiotics that we have made during the last decades in medicine, food production and farming. Moreover, most antibiotics we use today were developed in the decades between the ’50s and the ’70s, meaning that we have very few drugs available to tackle bacteria that has already developed resistances against those.
The role of the nursing profession combating AMR is linked to their privileged position at the frontline of patient care. Nurses, as one of the most trusted healthcare professions, play a role in educating patients managing their diseases and teaching them about the risks of antibiotics abuse. Moreover, specialist nurses play a key role in tackling AMR too. Specialist infection control nurses, in particular, lead and manage many quality improvements and patient safety programmes across EU member states including those that address AMR and the prevention of infection. Their leadership and contribution to multi-disciplinary teams add both impact and balance to the delivery of care and reduction of poor patient outcomes.
Together with other EU-based public health organisations, the EFN has co-signed an open letter to Members of the European Parliament on the importance to sustain EU progress in fighting against AMR​. The EFN has published a position paper on this matter.