Nurses will soon be carrying out minor surgery in some of Glasgow's biggest hospitals.
North Glasgow Trust recently gave the green light to a training scheme which will see nurse practitioners carrying out minor surgery in plastic surgery and dermatology.
This will be the first academically accredited course for nurse practitioners in minor surgery in Scotland.
Margaret Smith, North Glasgow Trust's Director of Nursing, explains: "The project will see nurse practitioners (senior nurses and experts in their field) extensively trained to a level where they are qualified to undertake minor surgical procedures.
"The result will see a reduction in waiting times for some minor procedures bringing direct benefits to patients."
The move - by Scotland's largest Acute Trust - also marks a step change in the way services are delivered. It shows quite clearly how the role of nursing is being effectively developed to help manage some of the modern challenges facing the NHS such as waiting times, capacity planning and compliance with junior doctors working hours.
Margaret Smith tells us: "By developing and encouraging the role of nurse practitioners we are unlocking the potential of our nursing staff and delivering a more integrated health care system."
In North Glasgow nurses are being supported and trained to take on more diverse roles and nurses undertaking minor surgery is just one in a number of role innovations taking place.
Throughout the Trust nurse practitioners are now working in many different specialties including endoscopy, ophthalmology, accident and emergency, burns and acute medicine.
The Trust has already reduced outpatient waiting times for some cancer services as nurse practitioners are running a number of nurse-led clinics undertaking endoscopic and colorectal investigations.
Margaret added: "Nurse practitioners not only manage the more routine investigations but also act as a permanent point on contact and support for patients. They assist in helping patients to manage their medicines and on-going treatment – resulting in the streamlining of care for patients.
"The role of the nurse is changing. As these nurse practitioner roles are further developed it will become more and more common to see highly skilled nurses carrying out procedures that were once only carried out by doctors."
Notes to Editor:
¨ In collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University the Trust has established a training programme for nurse practitioners. The degree level course, lasting a minimum of six months, is a combination of academic and practical assessment. Once the nurse practitioners pass they then move on to specialise in their chosen field and are further supported by both academic and consultant mentors.
¨ Nurse practitioners carrying out minor surgery will commence in March 2004.
¨ Before nurses are allowed on the nurse practitioners course they must have no less than five years experience in their chosen speciality.For further information please contact Emma Gregory on 0141 201 3964.