Beat, NHS England and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Eating Disorder developed a suite of training, including this training for nurses, in response to the PHSO investigation into avoidable deaths from eating disorders as outlined in recommendations from the report titled “Ignoring the Alarms: How NHS Eating Disorder Services are Failing Patients” (PHSO, 2017).
A survey and a review of undergraduate and postgraduate training in 2017 found that the majority of UK doctors receive less than two hours of training about eating disorders during their entire 10 – 16 years of medical training and approximately 20% do not receive any training at all (Ayton and Ibrahim, 2018). While GPs often provide initial assessments and referrals to specialist eating disorder services, treatment requires collaboration between healthcare professionals, including nurses. Nurses play a vital role in identification and treatment of eating disorders.
Dedicated to the memory of Averil Hart and everyone else who has died unnecessarily from an eating disorder, this training is designed to ensure that all nurses are trained to understand, identify and respond appropriately when faced with a patient with a possible eating disorder. It is our hope that this training will be a significant step to ensuring that avoidable deaths from eating disorders are consigned to the past.
You can find out more about out campaign here.
We asked UK nurses how much eating disorder specific training they had received, and about their experiences working with people with eating disorders. These were some of their responses:
‘In most situations you can identify with how a patient is feeling but if you’ve never had an eating disorder it’s so much harder. There is no help right now... we keep seeing eating disorder presentations - how do we help confidently’
"There was no training on eating disorders when I was training to be a nurse, it was purely my passion and drive to support people in this area that has got me to this point. "
“I feel terrified whenever I get an ED patient, I have no idea what to do and feel completely overwhelmed […] I have no idea how to help.”
“Have never been given any training regarding caring for individuals with eating disorders. As I work ...within an adult nursing setting, I feel we are missing vital training.”
The eating disorders training for nursing workforce is designed to enable them to:
Each of the three sessions will take around 30-60 minutes to complete and includes additional learning resources for those looking to further increase their knowledge. The sessions also provide good preparation for those who go on to participate in medical simulation training on eating disorders.
The nurses training can be accessed here.