Nursing in an age of multimorbidity
A changing sociodemographic landscape has seen rising numbers of people with two or more long-term health conditions. Multimorbidity presents numerous challenges for patients and families and those who work in healthcare services. Therefore, the nursing profession needs to understand the issues involved in supporting people with multiple chronic conditions and how to prepare the future workforce to care for them.
A descriptive, exploratory study was used to examine the future of nursing in an age of multimorbidity. An hour-long Twitter chat was organised and run by the Florence Nightingale Foundation Chairs of Clinical Nursing Practice Research to discuss this important area of practice and identify what needs to be done to adequately upskill and prepare the nursing profession to care for individuals with more than one long-term illness. Questions were formulated in advance to provide some structure to the online discussion. Data were collected and analysed from the social media platform using NVivo and an analytics tool called Keyhole. Descriptive statistics were used to describe participants and thematic analysis aided the identification of key themes.
Twenty-four people, from a range of nursing backgrounds and organisations, took part in the social media discussion. Five themes encompassing coping with treatment burden, delivering holistic care, developing an evidence base, stimulating learning and redesigning health services were seen as key to ensuring nurses could care for people with multimorbidity and prevent others from developing chronic health conditions.
Multimorbidity is a pressing health issue in today’s society. Changes in nursing research, education and practice are required to help the profession work collaboratively with patients, families and multidisciplinary teams to better manage and prevent chronic illness now and in the future.