Professions allied to Medicine – Nursing, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy
Nurses and pharmacists in particular are very important contributors to good care for patients with fungal disease. Many experienced nurses develop excellent clinical skills which contribute to diagnosis of complex problems, including fungal diseases. This is particularly true in nursing staff working in HIV/AIDS, haematology, allergy and respiratory medicine because the fungal infection and/or allergy rates are relatively high. Pharmacists can play a critical role in guiding doctors and patients in the appropriate use of antifungal medication. Drug interactions are a particular problem for antifungal drugs, and toxicities can be avoided or minimised with well-informed usage. Some antifungals require monitoring of blood levels or for abnormal kidney or liver function.
The recent introduction of a new expert training curriculum in the UK for specialised antimicrobial pharmacists -which includes antifungal expertise, will support antimicrobial pharmacists in delivering antimicrobial stewardship and assist in the battle against antimicrobial resistance. (Sneddon et al 2015)
LIFE’s approach to improving clinical expertise
>> Include nurse and pharmacists on courses on fungal diseases.
>> Include pharmacists in the expert group contributing to clinical centres of excellence.
>> Facilitate career building fellowships, sabbaticals, research projects etc. to ‘grow’ local clinical expertise.
>> Initiate local and national epidemiology surveys using nursing expertise, as a tool for local awareness and engagement with the national mycology community.
>> Include nurses and pharmacists in awareness campaigns for the public.