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Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is recognised as a global health and economic threat.  It places extreme pressure on the effective prevention and treatment of an ever increasing range of infections potentially returning modern medicine to the pre-antibiotic era.

Nursing has a key role in supporting efforts to reduce this threat as a central part of the healthcare and public health workforce. The work of the RCN is diverse to reflect the different ways in which nursing contributes within the UK and internationally.

In addition to the strategic work described in the current work section the RCN is also engaged in the following:

  • Updating of the RCN position on antimicrobial resistance and the role of the nurse  - this document describes the RCN’s ambitions for strategic priorities in AMR and support needed for nurses to contribute effectively. An interim statement has been published to highlight RCN priorities for the prevention of infection to be considered in the updating of the UK AMR strategy.
  • Focus on continence - as part of the UK focus on reducing infections caused by gram negative bacteria such as E. coli we recognise the importance of preventing infections associated with the genitourinary tract and avoidance of use of urinary catheters where possible
  • The promotion and management of bladder and bowel continence across health and social care is therefore a priority for nursing practice in all care settings. This work is being undertaken with the RCN Continence Forum 
  • Leadership – the importance of leadership in supporting change cannot be underestimated.  To support AMR activity the RCN is focusing on the development of political leadership skills to support antimicrobial stewardship and multi-disciplinary working locally and across health and social care systems. This work will form part of the RCN’s leadership programme  
  • Support for the One Health approach to AMR – through our membership of the Human and Animal Alliance the RCN has endorsed the video below which describes the impact of AMR to both humans and animals. 

Beat the bugs

Further resources

  • European Federation of Nurses Associations. EU nurses combating AMR. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a professional and political challenge that requires the engagement of the front-line nurses. Due to nurses’ close relation with citizens and patients and their unique role in infection prevention and control, and hygiene, nurses are, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, one of the most influential actors to combat AMR front-line. 
  • Department of Health. UK five-year antimicrobial resistance strategy 2013–2018: annual progress report, 2016. This report describes the activities and achievements over 2016. It notes that for the remaining two years of the strategy, the programme will focus on delivering the government's ambitions to halve certain types of infections and the inappropriate use of antibiotics.
  • Department of Health. Call to action on antimicrobial resistance: co-hosts' summary of ministerial and CEO roundtable. In October 2017, the UK government jointly hosted a roundtable that aimed to help maintain momentum on action on antimicrobial resistance. This report summarises the discussions that took place and the resulting underpinning principles for action as agreed by the five co-hosts.

Page last updated - 22/02/2018