Survey shows nurse practitioners providing an holistic service

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are still undertaking practice nurse work such as smears, family planning and chronic disease clinics on top of their daily patient workload, according to a survey by London's Southbank University.

Nurse practitioners are providing an holistic service
Nurse practitioners are providing an holistic service
The survey of 40 graduates of the university's BSc NP course showed the majority of respondents (92 per cent) were working in general practice and all were seeing undiagnosed and undifferentiated problems in same-day and routine appointments.

They also all reported providing clinics for long-term conditions such as asthma and CHD, while some NPs continued to perform practice nurse work like family planning and smears.

Katrina Maclaine, programme director for the course, said the results proved that NPs were providing a holistic service to patients.

'Instead of having a consultation with a woman and then sending her down the corridor for her smear, nurse practitioners can incorporate it into the consultations,' she said.

In line with changes to the QOF, some NPs also reported taking on more mental health patients. They asked for more clinical content in areas like bipolar disorder, epilepsy and acute mental episodes to be incorporated into training programmes.

Others were branching out into areas such as home visits, working autonomously in branch surgeries, freezing warts with liquid nitrogen as part of minor injury services and becoming involved in practice-based commissioning and management of nursing teams.

When asked about what improvements the course needed, the majority (95 per cent) called for the addition of the independent prescribing qualification to the course as an 'imperative'. Many reported that they were struggling to find extra funding to do the prescribing course, as they had already received funding for the NP course.

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