The role of the triage nurse practitioner in general medical practice: an analysis of the role

Authors

  • Shirley Reveley MA BA RGN RM RHV Dip.N. Cert Ed.

    1. Principal Lecturer, Primary Health Care, University College of St Martin, Lancaster and Carlisle, England
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Lorne Farm Southerfield, Abbeytown, Carlisle, CA5 4ND, England.

Abstract

A 2-year pilot study was undertaken in a group general practice to evaluate the nurse practitioner triage role. The study was undertaken in several stages which included a patient satisfaction questionnaire survey, follow-up interviews with 30 patients from the questionnaire survey, and analysis of the nurse practitioner’s work at different points over the 2-year study period. This paper describes the work of the nurse practitioner in comparison with that of seven general practitioners in a group general medical practice over a 5-day period in February 1996 and included patients’ perceptions of their consultation. In this particular group medical practice, as in others throughout the country, many patients request same day appointments, often for self-limiting conditions, social advice and health education. This study demonstrates that the nurse practitioner can deal with such patients effectively and is undertaking an expanded and extended role in order to provide an holistic service to patients with which they are highly satisfied. It can be concluded that given the right kind of education and training and a supportive framework within the practice, the nurse practitioner undertaking a triage role can provide a highly effective service to patients and is a valuable member of the primary health care team.

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