Nurse prescribers: what do dermatology patients think?

Dermatology patients were found to be very satisfied with the care they were given by nurse independent prescribers and nurse supplementary prescribers, in this study in which 165 (82%) patients treated by nurse prescribers from different convenience samples returned questionnaires.

The questionnaires asked patients about access and waiting times, continuity of care, communication during the consultation, outcomes of the consultation and satisfaction with the care received.

Continuity of care was seen as good and rated highly, suggesting that relationship continuity is an important aspect of the nurse-patient relationship: in particular, patients of the specialist nurses rated continuity highly – these patients are more likely to have long-term conditions.

All aspects of communication during the consultation were rated highly by patients, with slightly lower ratings being given to the amount of information patients received about their medicines. Patients of specialist nurses rated this aspect higher than those of GP nurses.

Overall, the authors conclude that the relationship nurse prescribers have with their dermatology patients and the length of the consultations are important features in this type of consultation. More research is needed on the information needs of dermatology patients, and on the effect of the nurse prescriber/patient relationship on medicines concordance and clinical outcomes.

Courtenay M, Carey N and Stenner K. Dermatology patients’ views on nurse prescribers. Dermatological Nursing 2009; 8(2): 38-44.