The NHS must consider investment in nurses with specialist training in advanced practice to ultimately reduce costs and increase efficiency, according to a UK healthcare academic.
Alison Leary, professor of healthcare modelling at London South Bank University, argues that misconceptions about the use of specialist nurses have hampering their perceived value and impact.
“With just small investments in education and administrative support, we could grow and develop this workforce”
Professor Leary, who has researched the work done by specialist nurses, said: “There is a perception that these nurses are expensive, but actually they are a very good return on investment and there are a lot of studies that show that.
“Together with colleagues, I have looked at the work of 12,000 specialist nurses in advanced practice, around 50 million hours of work, and they are a cost effective, high-quality option in terms of delivering care, she added.
“With just small investments in education and administrative support, we could grow and develop this workforce. It is a solution, not a cost and problem,” said Professor Leary.
Specialist nurses were now “pivotal to running services in long-term conditions and managing very complex caseloads”, she argued.
Professor Leary made the points in a special supplement on specialist nurses published by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.
The supplement – titled Time for some advanced thinking?: The benefits of specialist nurses – pulled together the opinions of nurses, patients, academics and others on the differences specialist nurses can make.