knowledge, attitudes and practices in the provision of nutritional careAbstract
Nutrition is one of the primary responsibilities of all registered nurses (Persenius et al2008). Malnutrition has
serious consequences for an individual‟s
quality of life (Fieldand Smith 2008). A condition such as malnutrition has to be identified before it canbe treated, therefore the importance of nutritional screening as a means of identifying,evaluating, and treating individuals at risk of malnutrition cannot be underestimated(Elia et al 2005). This paper critically discusses nutritional screening, nutritionalscreening tools, nurses
attitudes and practices to nutrition and debates thechallenges and opportunities encountered by nurses when providing nutritional care topatients.
Nutrition is a primary responsibility of all registered nurses (Persenius et al 2008). Agood nutritional status consists of a diet comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, fats anddairy products. An excess, deficiency, or imbalance of any of these essentialcomponents which comprise a balanced diet can lead to a poor nutritional status andcause malnutrition (Lewis et al 2004). Malnutrition is a lack of necessary andappropriate food substances and in clinical practice includes both undernutrition andovernutrition (Kozier et al 2008). Malnutrition can have serious consequences for an
individual‟s quality of life including, malfunction of all systems of the body, as body
cells rely on energy derived from food consumption (Field and Smith 2008).
The literature states that a condition such as malnutrition has to be identified before itcan be treated; therefore nutritional screening is recommended as a means of identifying, evaluating, and treating individuals at risk of malnutrition (Elia et al2005). Dougherty and Lister (2008) report that identifying patients nutritionallycompromised or at risk of malnutrition is the first step to providing nutritional care.Furthermore, Redfern and Ross (2006) refer to nutritional screening as a first - linefiltering process used to quantify risk using checklists, questionnaires, or scaled