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Doctors look after our mental health but who looks after theirs?

When medical students enter university, their mental health is no different from that of the rest of the population. Doctors learn early in their training to mask their pain, to hold the line, to come across as stoic, to turn up ready for work come what may, and never to admit to their vulnerabilities. By the end of their first year, however, it is significantly worse. Stress accumulates throughout their training and, for many, things do not improve as they progress through their careers.

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Drinking more water reduces bladder infections in women, reducing the need for antibiotics

Drinking more water each day could be the answer to reducing the risk of bladder infections among premenopausal women, according to US researchers. In a controlled trial, women who drank an additional 1.5 litres of water daily experienced 48% fewer repeat bladder infections than those who drank their usual volume of fluids.

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Burned out, but what does it all mean?

Burnout among clinicians is a troubling international trend, but the profession may be attempting to treat it without understanding it adequately, say experts calling for caution and further research. In one of two research articles published on 18 September in JAMA, researchers set out to identify the international prevalence of burnout in a systematic review, but found such substantial variation in burnout definitions, assessment methods and study quality that no conclusions could be drawn.

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Study highlights need to remain vigilant in maintaining key infection control processes

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can be reduced by up to 55% by systematically implementing evidence-based infection prevention and control strategies, according to a review of 144 studies published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). The study suggests that there is considerable room for improvement in infection prevention and control practices.

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Changing the way we communicate about patients

A 53 year old woman with right lower quadrant abdominal pain. A 36 year old acutely suicidal man off psych meds. A 21 year old opioid abuser in withdrawal. An 80 year old woman with chest pain. On a single shift, I regularly read through the “one-liners” of more than two dozen patients. To even keep track of who is who, I (along with most of my colleagues) end up remembering people by their presenting clinical symptom or main medical diagnosis. As much as we recognise this to be clinically necessary, what do we lose when we begin to think of patients in this way?

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Nursing paperwork could be slashed to improve patient care

A streamlined patient risk assessment tool has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of paperwork for nursing staff, leaving them more time for patient care. The tool – called RAIsoft Acute Care System - is a collaboration between The University of Queensland, Scandinavian company RAIsoft and Queensland Health. It has been successfully trialled at Brisbane’s QEII Jubilee Hospital.

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Rates of sepsis have been hugely underestimated, according to a new Australian study

While the focus has been on World Sepsis Day this week, Australian researchers are “on the verge” of breakthroughs in the management of sepsis, according to experts. “We need to be able to show the impact of these interventions, but we can’t do that unless we are able to record the patients who truly have sepsis,” says Professor David Paterson, Director at the University of Queensland’s Centre for Clinical Research. He said that recent research published online in the MJA was an important step in improving the “counting” of cases of sepsis and septic shock in Australian hospitals.

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Higher risk of gout in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea

Patients with obstructive sleep apnoea have a higher risk of developing gout, even beyond the first years after being diagnosed with the sleep disorder, according to UK researchers. They noted that apnoea was associated with a range of serious comorbidities and it had previously been shown that people with it had a higher risk of developing gout in the first year after diagnosis.

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Queensland Ambulance Service grants dying man's wish for one last caramel sundae

A dying man has had his wish for one last caramel sundae granted by Queensland Ambulance officers. Gold Coast cancer patient Ron McCartney was leaving his home for the last time to go into palliative care at Robina Hospital. His wife Sharon McCartney was by his side and mentioned that Mr McCartney had barely eaten in two days. Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) officers Kate Hanafy and Hanna Hoswell asked him if he could eat anything, what would it be? Mr McCartney replied that he'd love his favourite food — a caramel sundae.

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Townsville nurses write the book on neonatal care

Nurses from Townsville Hospital and Health Services have literally helped write the book on neonatal care, with the first-ever neonatal teaching textbook written in Australia and New Zealand – “Neonatal Nursing in Australia and New Zealand: Principles for Practice”.

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