Nurses working in GI and endoscopic practice: a review
Gastrointestinal Endoscopy , Volume 65 - Issue 3 p. 469- 479
Background: Over the last 10 years, nurses increasingly perform tasks and procedures that were previously performed by physicians. Objective: In this review, we investigated what types of GI care and endoscopic procedures nurses presently perform and reviewed the available evidence regarding the benefits of these activities. Design: Review of published articles on nurses' involvement in GI and endoscopic practice. Results: In total, 19 studies were identified that evaluated performance and participation of nurses in GI and endoscopic practice. Of these, 3 were randomized trials on the performance of nurses in flexible sigmoidoscopy (n = 2) and upper endoscopy (n = 1). Fourteen nonrandomized studies evaluated performance in upper endoscopy (n = 2), EUS (n = 1), flexible sigmoidoscopy (n = 7), capsule endoscopy (n = 2), and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy placement (n = 2). In all studies, it was found that nurses accurately and safely performed these procedures. Two further studies demonstrated that nurses adequately managed follow-up of patients with Barrett's esophagus and inflammatory bowel disease. Four of the 19 studies showed that patients were satisfied with the type of care nurses provided. Finally, it was suggested that costs were reduced if nurses performed a sigmoidoscopy and evaluated capsule endoscopy examinations compared with physicians performing these activities. Conclusions: The findings of this review support the involvement of nurses in diagnostic endoscopy and follow-up of patients with chronic GI disorders. Further randomized trials, however, are needed to demonstrate whether this involvement compares at least as favorably with gastroenterologists in terms of medical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and costs.