Practice Nurses' views of their role in the management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalagic Encephalitis: a qualitative study

Chew-Graham, C., Dixon, R., Shaw, J.W., Smyth, N., Lovell, K. and Peters, S. 2009. Practice Nurses' views of their role in the management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalagic Encephalitis: a qualitative study. BMC Nursing. 8 (2). doi:10.1186/1472-6955-8-2

TitlePractice Nurses' views of their role in the management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalagic Encephalitis: a qualitative study
TypeJournal article
AuthorsChew-Graham, C., Dixon, R., Shaw, J.W., Smyth, N., Lovell, K. and Peters, S.
Abstract

Background

NICE guidelines suggest that patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis (CFS/ME) should be managed in Primary Care. Practice Nurses are increasingly being involved in the management of long-term conditions, so are likely to also have a growing role in managing CFS/ME. However their attitudes to, and experiences of patients with CFS/ME and its management must be explored to understand what barriers may exist in developing their role for this group of patients. The aim of this study was to explore Practice Nurses' understanding and beliefs about CFS/ME and its management.

Methods

Semi-structured interviews with 29 Practice Nurses. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and an iterative approach used to develop themes from the dataset.

Results

Practice nurses had limited understanding about CFS/ME which had been largely gained through contact with patients, friends, personal experiences and the media rather than formal training. They had difficulty seeing CFS/ME as a long term condition. They did identify a potential role they could have in management of CFS/ME but devalued their own skills in psychological intervention, and suggested counselling would be an appropriate therapeutic option. They recognised a need for further training and on going supervision from both medical and psychological colleagues. Some viewed the condition as contentious and held pejorative views about CFS/ME. Such scepticism and negative attitudes will be a significant barrier to the management of patients with CFS/ME in primary care.

Conclusion

The current role of Practice Nurses in the ongoing management of patients with CFS/ME is limited. Practice Nurses have little understanding of the evidence-base for treatment of CFS/ME, particularly psychological therapies, describing management options in terms of advice giving, self-help or counselling. Practice Nurses largely welcomed the potential development of their role in this area, but identified barriers and training needs which must be addressed to enable them to feel confident managing of patients with this condition. Training must begin by addressing negative attitudes to patients with CFS/ME.

KeywordsChronic Fatigue Syndrome Practice Nurse Term Condition Illness Model Medically Unexplained Symptom
JournalBMC Nursing
Journal citation8 (2)
ISSN1472-6955
Year2009
PublisherSpringer
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1186/1472-6955-8-2
Web address (URL)https://bmcnurs.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6955-8-2
Publication dates
Published22 Jan 2009
LicenseCC BY 2.0

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