A Day in the life of the Paediatric Asthma Nurse | News

A Day in the life of the Paediatric Asthma Nurse

The Asthma Nurses team by their standFor World Asthma Day, our Respiratory Nursing Team have been up and down the corridors of our Children’s Hospital, discussing asthma care with our colleagues, patients and families, especially around asthma training, correct inhaler techniques and the importance of different inhalers.

Alongside this, Teresa Evans from our Respiratory Nursing team, who works in the community, kindly gave us an insight and example of what her day entails:

“I start my day by checking which patients I have booked in and check if they have had any exacerbations in the last 12 months. I will ensure I know what medication they are on and how many Inhaled Corticosteroids (IC) and Short Acting Beta Agonist (SABA) they have picked up in the last 12 months.    

“Once the patient is with me, I carry out a thorough assessment which includes the patients or parents completing an age-appropriate asthma control test. One of the most important aspects of what I do is ensure they are adherent to their treatment, alongside assessing them taking their inhalers and ensure they have the correct spacer. Often this is one of the major issues I find. Many have not been witnessed taking their inhalers and frequently are using them wrong or with the wrong spacer device. I always have inhalers and spacers in clinic, so that this can be assessed. 

“I will explain how the inhalers work inside the lungs and discuss the symptoms of asthma, so the family and child have a greater understanding.

Teresa Evans

“Every patient I see in the clinic will be given an asthma plan. This will be discussed with them, so I know they understand and two copies of the plan will be given to them, one for family and one for school or early-year care provider.

“If parents or the child have any concerns with their school concerning their asthma, then I will phone and discuss this with the school and if necessary also inform the school nurse health team.

"If patients are not brought to their appointment with me, I do have to consider safeguarding concerns, especially if this is more than two appointments. I will follow the safeguarding policy and contact any other professionals involved with this child ( usually schools) to see if they have any concerns too and appropriate referral pathways will be followed to get support for this family.

“Alongside running these clinics in Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSOL ICB) (there are currently five running each week), I have regular meetings with GPs, secondary care consultant who has an interest in respiratory and have regular contact with a Tertiary care consultant paediatrician in Respiratory. Should I have any concerns about any patients then I will discuss these children.  This enables the children and young people to get the correct medication or be seen rapidly in secondary care, without the delay they often meet waiting for an appointment. 

“We have also been supporting the Asthma Friendly Schools project across the BSOL ICB. I have been involved in school assemblies. We teach the children and young people about asthma and the signs, symptoms and triggers of asthma, these assemblies are interactive and fun for primary school pupils and more formal for secondary school children. Schools are then encouraged to ask students who are keen to become asthma ambassadors for their school, to promote asthma and carry on the message so more people have a greater understanding of what asthma is.

Following on from the assemblies I have also delivered four asthma clinics in three different schools, seeing the children who had high non-attendance due to their asthma and some that hadn’t been reviewed by their GP for a long while."

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