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Q: Nurses' nutritional knowledge of HIV

I'm a staff nurse from Ireland looking for any information on nurses' knowledge of the importance of nutrition in HIV. Any information would be appreciated. August, 2001

A: Donna Tinnerello, MS, RD, CD/N responds:

I think the relationship between RD (Registered Dietitian) & RN (Registered Nurse) is important for total patient care. The information we RDs provide is valuable and obviously we have more detailed knowledge of the nutritional particulars. But some nurses in the US (which is the country I know most about) are very savvy about nutrition, and they are able to talk about it in a language that nurses understand and is relevant to their work.

I might suggest that the questioner contact ANAC (Association of Nurses in AIDS Care). It's a national organization withlocal representation around the country. I have seen some good articles in JANAC (ANAC's Journal) co-written by an RD.

I worked on the AIDS unit for 9 years closely with nurses. This was an important relationship; while I recommended the formula, the nurses taught me about the delivery of nutrition support, etc. And a lot about meds. Nurses in the hospital setting are with patients around the clock whereas RDs visit and revisit. So it's very important that nurses know something about nutrition and HIV.

(Administrator's Note: If the questioner is looking for ways to learn more about nutritional intervention with HIV, then obviously a purusal of Jennifer's Picnic Basket for many relevant articles would be very worthwhile. Also, the Question & Answer page. Both pages provide much knowledge learned from hands-on experience with Positive People. If one is looking to find out just how much nurses generally know about nutrition, it might be worth looking at the Q&A on Studies to see if there's a relevant citation. Another great source for this kind of information is HIV Resources

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