What's known on the subject? and What does the study add?
Nurse-led flexible cystoscopy (NLFC) has developed over the past decade in the UK with reports suggesting that adequately trained nurses can undertake FC competently. However, this is a relatively new concept in Australia and the feasibility and efficacy of this initiative in Australia has not yet been reported.
We describe the various aspects that need to be addressed to implement a NLFC service in Australia. We have shown that NLFC is a safe and feasible option when established with strong departmental support, training, supervision and adherence to established guidelines. NLFC clinics can provide an efficient service and excellent continuity of care for patients with bladder cancer.
- • To present our initial experience implementing a nurse-led flexible cystoscopy (NLFC) service in a Victorian tertiary hospital and our initial results from that service, as NLFC has developed over the past decade with reports suggesting that adequately trained nurses can undertake FC competently.
Patients and methods
- • We describe the implementation of a NLFC service including approval, funding, nurses' training, and protocols.
- • Outcomes of all patients having a NLFC or subsequent interventions were recorded prospectively and analysed retrospectively.
- • To gauge patients' response to NLFC, an anonymous feedback questionnaire was administered to 60 consecutive participating patients in the recovery unit.
- • The effect of NLFC on waiting times was determined from surgical scheduling records.
- • In all, 272 patients had 720 NLFC done over a 2-year period. In all, 150 (21%) FCs had a suspected bladder cancer recurrence and were referred for a rigid cystoscopy. Of those, 83 (58%) revealed a recurrence comprising of 14 (17%) high-grade lesions, 45 (54%) low-grade lesions and 24 (29%) were diathermied without a biopsy. In all, 41 (27%) had benign pathology on biopsy and 21 (14%) had normal rigid cystoscopy.
- • There were two significant adverse events.
- • There was a 65% reduction in the waiting list for surveillance FC after introduction of the service.
- • Of 60 patients who completed the feedback questionnaire, 95% reported that they were given enough information by the nurses, 92% had all their questions answered satisfactorily and 97% had enough confidence and trust in the nurse. In all, 90% had a positive perception of the service overall and 93% were happy to have a FC performed by a nurse rather than a doctor.
- • Results from our NLFC audit compare favourably with other published reports. NLFC is a safe and feasible option when established alongside strong departmental support, comprehensive nurses' training according to established guidelines, service supervision by a designated consultant and regular audits.
- • NLFC clinics can provide an efficient service and excellent continuity of care for patients with non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer.