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Nursing Care: Acute Pancreatitis - Essay Example

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Nurses play an important role in any health care system. They play a major role in the assessment and treatment of patients (Nettina, 2006). They promote the emotional well being of a patient because of their sense of empathy and caring feeling (Peate and Dutton, 2012). They work with people suffering from various types of illnesses in diversity of roles and actions demanding expert skills and professional knowledge. The situations are many a times complex requiring an understanding of the complexity of the situation. Every nurse-patient encounter is unique and there are no fixed solutions to many nursing problems. Due to these demands and requirements, some professional standards and skills are expected from the nurses. Competence for nurses is important for the kind of profession it is and the expectations that the profession arouses (Aston, 2010). Nursing profession involves complex combinations of performance, knowledge, attitudes and skills (David 2005). In this essay, nursing care of a patient with pancreatitis will be discussed to enhance reflective thinking and appraise nursing competence during case management. The case discussion is about a 58 year old patient by name James (name changed to maintain privacy). James was brought to the emergency room on a Friday evening after a weekend party with severe abdominal pain. He was accompanied by his wife and friend. In the past, James had few episodes of abdominal pain and he responded well to antigastritis treatments. However, since the intensity of pain was more and he also had severe vomiting, his wife forced him to see a doctor in the emergency room. In the emergency room, James appeared dehydrated and was in distress. On enquiry, it was found that he did not pass much urine in the past 6 hours and had vomited several number of times. He had severe abdominal pain in the centre of the abdomen which radiated towards his back. He did not have loos stools and was passing flatus normal. The emergency doctor suspected acute pancreatitis. He performed serum amylase levels and they were 3000IU/l. CT scan which was done immediately confirmed the same. The patient was then transferred to surgical intensive care unit for further management. I was put incharge of the patient and asked to pick up the patient from the emergency room. James was anxious and so was his wife. They bombarded me with questions pertaining to the nature of the disease, the course of stay in the hospital, anticipated complications and prognosis. Inflammation of pancreas is known as pancreatitis (Whitcomb 2006). Pancreas is an organ that has both exocrine and endocrine functions. It is located behind the stomach in the abdomen. Acute inflammation of the organ is actually uncommon and mostly mild. In 30 percent cases however, it is severe and the patient can become critically ill (Whitcomb 2006). Acute pancreatitis mainly presents as severe abdominal pain mainly in the epigastric region. The pain can radiate towards the back and is frequently associated with nausea and vomiting like in case of James. There are several causes of pancreas, the most common of which are gall stones and alcohol intake. James was a chronic alcoholic. He frequently binged on large quantities of alcohol. Diagnosis of pancreatitis is made by serum amylase assessment. Levels more than 1000 IU/L are diagnostic of pancreatitis, like in case of James (Whitcomb 2006; Granger and Remick 2005). Two important aspects of nursing care I would like to stress upon while taking care of James were improving comfort of the patient and providing psychological support. I offered regular analgesia to James to promote comfort. James complained of severe pain in the ...Show more


Acute pancreatitis is a challenging condition not only for surgeons but also for nurses taking care of them (Granger and Remick 2005). It is a life threatening condition and warrants continuous monitoring. …
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Nursing Care: Acute Pancreatitis essay example
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