EFN Report “Nurses are frontline combating AMR”

Posted on November 7, 2017

Antimicrobial resistance represents one of the most current critical concerns of public health. The European Commission estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been associated with the death of 25,000 people in the European Union (EU) alone; while the extra healthcare costs and productivity loses associated with AMR cost the EU at least €1.5 billion each year.

To tackle AMR frontline, health policies need to be ‘fit for purpose’, national AMR Action Plans need to reflect the nurses voice. However, European initiatives to tackle AMR do not take up in a systematic way the health professionals frontline perspectives, in particular the 3 million nurses throughout the EU, a trend that is not promising for the success of such strategies impacting on the outcomes. In this context, a greater involvement of nurses in initiatives promoting prudent antimicrobial prescribing and management could substantially increase the extent to which these actions can improve health outcomes. In order to fully empower nurses in delivering high quality and safe care, it is crucial to recognise the role nurses play in combating AMR through traditional and advanced roles, such as Link nurses, Stewardship, infection prevention and control nurses and nurse prescribers. In effect, their close relation with the citizens/patient, as well as their role in infection control and hygiene, make nurses, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, one of the most appropriate actors to combat AMR.

The EFN report explores some good practices of nurses addressing AMR, by providing a collection of examples gathered through EFN from National Nursing Associations (NNAs) actively engaged in combating AMR. This frontline reality can be complemented with a range of statements provided by the EFN Members in the occasion of the European Awareness Day on Antimicrobial Resistance. The experiences collected relate to “Link nurses – Infection Prevention and Control Nurses and Stewardship”, “Frontline engagement in policy design”, and “Nurse prescribing”.

The analysis of such examples shows that the nurses input to AMR strategies and roadmaps is crucial for the development of “fit for purpose” policies to combat AMR at all levels. As such, the EFN reiterates the importance for EU health policies to reflect the nurse pragmatic approach through a systematic engagement of frontline in the design of measures to combat AMR, from UN to municipally.