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Specialist nurses speed up diagnosis

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A specially trained nurse practitioner can speed up the diagnosis and management of patients with certain spinal conditions, according to Canadian researchers.

In their study, a nurse consulted 96 male and 81 female patients, with an average age of 52, who had been referred by a GP for suspected disc herniation, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease.

Researchers said the nurse’s diagnosis agreed in 100 per cent of cases with that of surgeons and in 95 per cent on management plans.

The authors said: “Although skill levels will vary from one nurse practitioner to another, physicians can work with them to help them to develop expertise in their specialty area.”


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