A survey by a leading charity has found that nearly one in four nurses reported that they were likely to be the only regular visitor for around half of the patients they see at home.
The survey of dermatological nurses by the British Skin Foundation covered a number of topics including the elderly, children, skin cancer and the psychological effects of skin disease.
The survey also found that 92% of nurses said patients confide in them about both the psychological effects of their skin condition as well as the physical effects.
But 43% believe their patients don’t additionally share this psychological information with their doctor or dermatologist.
Furthermore, three in four dermatological nurses surveyed think there are more skin problems in children today than 10 years ago.
Karen Stephen, Lead Dermatology Nurse at NHS Tayside said: “This survey highlights the important role nurses can play in supporting patients with skin disease both with the physical and psychological impact of their conditions.
“As the survey shows nurses are ideally placed when they are doing dressing changes, applying treatments or performing skin surgery to provide information and support whether it’s to ensure people have the knowledge and skills of use their skin treatments correctly or how to enjoy the sun safely.”
The survey also revealed that every nurse surveyed said that they believe patients find it easier to talk to a nurse rather than a doctor.
Sandra Lawton OBE, dermatology nurse consultant at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This survey reflects the burden of skin disease that nurses see and highlights the important role we have in the care of patients presenting with a skin problem.
“As the survey shows, skin conditions affect patients of all ages so caring for them requires competent and experienced dermatology nurses. As we move forward we need to ensure that we invest in nursing to guarantee nurses have the appropriate skills to support our patients and their families.”