Top 10: the most popular articles of 2020

When 2020 was designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization, no one could have predicted just how significant a year it would be

One year and a COVID-19 pandemic later, nurses have truly been placed centre stage worldwide.

Here, we look back on a selection of our most-read articles.

Tribute to nurses

1. COVID-19: remembering the nursing staff who have lost their lives

The practice nurse who had worked in the NHS for nearly half a century, the ‘old-school’ nurse, the ‘go-to’ healthcare assistant who knew how to get things done: just some of the members of the nursing family who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In what is fittingly our most-read article of 2020, colleagues, friends and loved ones pay tribute to the dedication, professionalism and passion of those who have died during the pandemic.

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Picture: iStock

2.  COVID-19: the steps to take when your shift ends to stay safe at home

Online sources list a number of rigorous steps to take after each shift to help halt the spread of COVID-19 – but what do the experts say? Nursing Standard reviewed government guidance and spoke to infection control nurses.

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Helent Whately
Picture: Parliament TV

3.  COVID-19: MPs say nurses deserve pay rises, not just hand claps and medals

Nurses deserve pay rises – not medals – MPs argued during a House of Commons debate.

The June debate was triggered by a 160,000-strong petition, urging the government to increase pay for NHS healthcare staff and recognise their work during the pandemic.

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Skin damage from PPE

4. COVID-19: how to avoid skin damage while wearing PPE

Some of the most enduring images of the COVID-19 pandemic are of weary nurses and fellow healthcare staff with red marks and bruises on their faces after wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) during long shifts.

This article gives practical advice on some simple steps to help minimise PPE-related skin problems.

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5. What is ABCDE and why is it important?

Assessing patients, identifying swiftly those whose condition is deteriorating and prioritising interventions is an essential part of safe healthcare. This article looks at using the ABCDE approach (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure) to carry out an assessment.

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Break room
Picture: Neil O'Connor

6.  How COVID-19 is affecting nurses’ mental health, and what to do about it

This article looks at the mental impact of the pandemic on the nursing workforce and offers useful advice and practical coping strategies.

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Picture: iStock

7. Low-paid ‘on-the-job’ nursing student training will take the profession backwards

The introduction of paid clinical placements for some nursing students as part of the COVID-19 response reignited the debate on whether students should receive a salary to train in the long-term.

Leading nursing academic Alison Leary argues that paid placements are no cure-all for student debt and staff shortages, and how being an ‘employee’ could detract from the learning experience.

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Nurse bands
Picture: iStock

8.  Stop saying ‘the band 5’: why referring to colleagues by their pay band has had its day

Jane Coomber, a former nurse adviser for a London NHS trust, argues that referring to colleagues by their pay band can hold nurses back by undervaluing what many of them do.

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Picture: iStock

9. COVID-19: working within the limits of your competence

COVID-19 means nurses are working in exceptional circumstances (but always ensure you practise at the right level for your skills and experience). This article includes a handy checklist on how you might decide how to proceed when asked to take on a task or work in a clinical area outside of your usual practice.

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Reflective practice
Picture: iStock

10.  How to use your COVID-19 experience for reflective practice

How nurses can use reflection to process their unprecedented COVID-19 experiences and improve practice.

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