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Nurse consultants' impact 'still not evident'

  • 6 Comments

There is still a lack of “robust” evidence on the impact of nurse consultants in UK healthcare, more than a decade after the role was introduced, according to Sheffield Hallam University researchers.

Nurse consultants were introduced in England in 2000 with the intention to achieve better outcomes for patients by improving quality and services.

The researchers reviewed 36 studies on the role, with the aim of to identifying indicators for demonstrating their impact on patient and professional outcomes.

Writing in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, the authors said: “The findings suggest a largely positive influence of nurse consultants on a range of clinical and professional outcomes, which map onto the proposed framework of impact. However, there was very little robust evidence and the methodological quality of studies was often weak.”

They added: “Further robust research is required to explore nurse consultants’ impact on patient and professional outcomes.”

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  • 6 Comments

Readers' comments (6)

  • Is this more about the fact that there are still very few Nurse Consultants, there are few pathways available for Nurses to get into the role, and no one has bothered to do any research on it because there is still a bias toward the medical profession staying at the top? Hmm.

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  • michael stone

    I am not disagreeing with mike.

    But I must admit to having my doubts about the phrase 'robust research' in the context of the NHS, for something as subtle as judging impact outcomes, as opposed to which anti-biotic works better fro a particular infection !

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  • '...the methodological quality of the studies was often weak...'

    Don't let the facts get in the way of agood story NT.

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  • Lack of evidence does not mean lack of efficacy - Smith (2003) Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

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  • Much of the care delivered in the NHS has little evidence to support its use. Until we are using electronic records with properly defined structured data it will be difficult if not impossible to properly evidence the impact of many roles in the NHS.

    It is evident that well defined outcome measures that can be objectively measured are the only way to really demonstrate the impact of care and treatment, nursing or indeed medical. The focus to date has been on patient reported outcome measures, which whilst important, lack the real measure of the impact and cost effectiveness of comparative services.

    However even if only as effective as medical care a Nurse Consultant is much less expensive, and arguably much more cost effective than an equivalent Medical Consultant. This is not to say that nurses should replace doctors wholesale; however my experience is that particularly in the management of long-term conditions, the holistic outlook of a nurse is beneficial to the patient.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 6-Oct-2011 9:48 pm

    Re your:


    'It is evident that well defined outcome measures that can be objectively measured are the only way to really demonstrate the impact of care and treatment, nursing or indeed medical. The focus to date has been on patient reported outcome measures, which whilst important, lack the real measure of the impact and cost effectiveness of comparative service'

    the basic problem, is the complexity of deciding what outcome measures, are truly meaningful. It isn't necessarily true, that the things which can be easily measured tell you what you really need to know.

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