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Nurses Frustrated by Lack of Adherence to Poisons Advice

Last Updated: June 15, 2009.

Nurses and pharmacists at poison control centers have all the technical information they need to answer callers' enquiries but need more training in order to improve caller adherence to their recommendations, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses and pharmacists at poison control centers have all the technical information they need to answer callers' enquiries but need more training in order to improve caller adherence to their recommendations, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Lee Ellington, Ph.D., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues conducted a study with six nurses and four pharmacists who were all certified poison information specialists and who participated in focus groups regarding their experiences with callers.

The participants reported quickly forming an opinion as to whether or not callers were likely to adhere to their advice, and described how their frustration at those who they believed would not adhere was sometimes apparent to the callers, the investigators found. Typically, specialists had adequate knowledge about poisons but lacked training in the telephone skills required to increase the rate of adherence, the researchers noted.

"Although this is a need in telephone health care in general, it is particularly necessary in poison control center telephone calls, where prompt assessment and treatment are vital to attaining optimal patient outcomes," the authors write. "Telephone health care providers such as specialists in poison information can increase awareness of their communication style and seek additional training opportunities to learn communication strategies to improve caller adherence to recommendations."

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