Advanced practice nurses can provide safe and effective primary care

Added May 9, 2020

Citation: Swan M, Ferguson S, Chang A, et al. Quality of primary care by advanced practice nurses: a systematic review. International Journal for Quality in Health Care 2015; 27(5): 396-404

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare services. Existing research on expanding the role of non-medical healthcare workers, such as advanced practice nurses (APN), in primary care may provide information to help policy makers with this.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research that compared outcomes of care provided by physicians and APNs in equivalent primary care provider roles. They did not restrict their search by date of publication but restricted their searches to studies published in English, and did their search before June 2015. They included 7 randomized trials (10,911 patients), which were from Canada (2 studies), the Netherlands (3), UK (2) and USA (1).

What was found: Advanced practice nurses, compared to physicians, were equal or better for some physiological measures (including blood pressure and blood lipid levels), patient satisfaction and cost; and were found to be safe in providing primary care.

Patient consultations with advanced practice nurses were generally longer than those with physicians.

The long-term outcomes of care provided by advanced practice nurses are uncertain.


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