European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) took place on 18 November. Like the recent International Infection Prevention Week, it provided an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of infection prevention and responsible antibiotic use.
The two events focus our attention on serious threats to patient safety and the global nature of these threats. Modern healthcare will not be able to continue in its current form if we lose the ability to treat infections. The importance of antimicrobial resistance however is not confined to hospitals as may be first assumed. While reports of 'superbugs' in the media focus on hospital settings, community health workers and organisations have a crucial role to play in reducing this significant risk to patients and the general public. So, what key messages should primary care and community nurses take away?
First impressions may create the notion that EAAD is aimed only at doctors. Our medical colleagues certainly have an important role to play, but nurses can, and do, contribute to all elements of strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR).They contribute as prescribers of medicines, researchers, care providers, educators, commissioners, infection prevention and health protection specialists and patient advocates.