Treatment of minor illness in primary care: a national survey of patient satisfaction, attitudes and preferences regarding a wider nursing role
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2006
© 2006 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 10, Issue 1, pages 30–45, March 2007
How to Cite
Caldow, J., Bond, C., Ryan, M., Campbell, N. C., Miguel, F. S., Kiger, A. and Lee, A. (2007), Treatment of minor illness in primary care: a national survey of patient satisfaction, attitudes and preferences regarding a wider nursing role. Health Expectations, 10: 30–45. doi: 10.1111/j.1369-7625.2006.00422.x
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2006
- Accepted for publication 21 September 2006
- discrete choice experiment;
- extended role;
- patient opinion;
- patient satisfaction;
- practice nurse;
- primary health care
Background This study investigated patient opinion about the provision of nurse-led vs. doctor-led primary health care in the treatment of minor illness.
Design A postal questionnaire survey including discrete choice experiment (DCE) of a national sample followed by telephone interviews with respondent volunteers.
Setting and participants A large random sample of the population of Scotland from a range of general practices including traditional and extended practice nursing roles was invited to participate.
Main outcome measures Patient satisfaction with, opinion of and preference for practice nurse (PN) vs. doctor consultation in primary care in relation to gender, age, education and income.
Results Questionnaire response rate was 49% (1343 of 2740). Women, younger people, the less well-educated and those with higher income had a more positive attitude towards the PN. Older people had a more positive attitude to the doctor. Results from the DCE indicated that whilst most respondents would prefer a doctor consultation, many would be happy to consult with a nurse if other aspects of the consultation were improved.
Forty-eight people were interviewed. The main perceived differences between doctors and nurses were academic ability and qualifications. Most respondents thought nurses could deal with relatively minor problems and should be able to prescribe some drugs.
Conclusion Patients would always want their choice of health professional to be available at first contact. However, this study suggests that, in primary health-care practices, if nurses take on more roles previously the preserve of doctors, patients would accept them, particularly if patients receive information on nurses’ capabilities.