What do I need to learn in order to progress through my course? How do I achieve the best possible patient-care?

Professional Skills for Nurses answers both of these questions and supports the development of key nursing skills underpinned by theory. Designed specifically to meet the needs of nursing students in the initial stages of training, the book focuses on the essential knowledge and skills needed for effective patient-care while at the same time helping students to achieve the NMC outcomes required for entry into branch programs.

Each chapter focuses on a key aspect of nursing care backed up with practical tips, examples drawn from all branches of nursing, and a range of study activities to help you reflect on your learning and get the most from practice placements.

Key themes in healthcare such as ethics, evidence-based practice and health promotion are discussed throughout the book, highlighting how these relate to everyday nursing practice.

Focusing on the core skills covered in the initial stages of training, Professional Skills in Nursing is the ideal introduction for students during the Common Foundation Program.



Learning Outcomes

This chapter is designed to help you:

  • understand the functioning of the bowel and urinary system
  • identify common problems associated with urination and defaecation
  • identify the complications associated with bowel and urinary disorders
  • understand the interventions associated with these problems
  • learn the principles of catheter care
  • recognise the professional role of the nurse when providing care for individuals with elimination difficulties.


Continence, bladder and bowel care form an important part of nursing. They are among the subjects covered in the Essence of Care document (DH 2001). Making a Difference (DH 1999) saw continence as a fundamental aspect of care, but found that care provision often falls below acceptable standards. According to the NMC (2007: 9), students need to be able to ‘where relevant, apply ...

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