A study by Mireia Fàbregas, MD, of the Institut Català de la Salut, in Barcelona, Spain, and her colleagues has been published in the online version of the Journal of Advanced Nursing on 21 March 2013. The findings suggest that nurses may be able to take on some of the care generally provided by physicians.
In a trial involving 1,461 adult patients who requested same day appointments to see either nurses trained to respond to problems with low complexity or to see general practitioners, the investigators found that nurses successfully solved 86.3% of the cases.
The study was conducted in 38 general practices in Catalonia, Spain, and 142 general practitioners and 155 nurses participated. The investigators measured how well patients' symptoms resolved and how satisfied patients were two weeks after the visit.
Patients who saw nurses were equally satisfied with their visit as those who saw doctors. When patients were asked about their preferences regarding which professional they would like to visit if a similar health problem arose again, more than 40% of patients in each group expressed indifference.
"This study could help to reduce resistance to change in both physicians and nurses, as well as in the general population, generating confidence in the care provided by nurses," said Dr. Fàbregas. She and her co-authors noted that having nurses solve acute diseases of low complexity could help improve overall health care efficiency.
Waknine Y (2013). Nurses and Doctors Equally Competent for Simple Ailments, Medscape Medical News, 21 March 2013.
Medical News Today. The Public Can Be Confident In The Care Nurses Provide, Comparable To That Of Doctors For Resolving Health Problems Of Low Complexity, 24 March 2013.
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