Nurse-led clinics are a model of care indicated where there are service gaps due to high demand and/or workforce shortages.
Nurse-led clinics are expanding because they are an innovative use of the nursing workforce that can facilitates timely access to specialist services.There is a wide variety in the way that different nurse-led clinics are structured, but they all contain some common characteristics. These clinics are often run by nurses that have advanced skills and knowledge and are able to work autonomously. In most clinics nurses have their own caseload and patients consult with them in specified time slots. Nurses make detailed physiological assessment, subsequent care planning, delivery of treatments, monitoring of the patient's condition and management of medicines. Nurses work in a multidisciplinary environment and refer to other colleagues when indicated.
Nurse-led clinics are beneficial when:
- the waiting lists for a specialist outpatient appointment are long
- high demand and/or workforce shortages in some specialities
- advanced skills and knowledge contribute to maintenance of optimal patent health especially in chronic conditions
For patients: patients have a shorter wait for their specialist outpatients appointment and have high levels of satisfaction with the care they receive in nurse-led clinics. This model of care may also facilitate earlier discharge of patients back to General Practice services.
For nursing staff: Increased job satisfaction.
For medical staff: Medical expertise can be prioritised to those patients who will benefit from it.
For the hospital: Nurse-led clinics increase the efficiency and reduce waiting time in outpatients clinics.
- Nurse-led clinics enable patients to access high-quality, safe and effective health care in a timely manner
- Nurses in nurse-led clinics work as part of a multidisciplinary team
- Nurse-led clinics often facilitate continuity of care which is highly valued by patients.