The role of the clinical nurse specialist in epilepsy. A national survery

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Purpose: To review and describe the key roles of the UK clinical nurse specialist in epilepsy (CNSE), and to identify the specialist nurses' contribution to care through an exploration of CNSE's perceptions of their roles. Method: Using the Delphi technique [Applied Project Design and Analysis, 3rd ed., Churchill Livingstone, London, 2000, p. 243] a national survey of all known UK CNSEs was completed. One hundred and thirty questionnaires identifying nine key hypotheses central to the role of the CNSE were distributed and 76 valid questionnaires returned. Results: The response rate was 63% and was geographically representative of the UK population of CNSEs. CNSEs were employed in a range of hospital and community settings with differing patient groups. Seventy-two percent of respondents held higher academic nursing qualifications but only 36% had previous epilepsy or neurology experience. Thirty percent of respondents had been employed in the role of CNSE for more than 5 years and 84% were employed as a G or H grade nurse. Only 39% of CNSEs held nurse-led clinics and of those 32% were responsible for all decisions made during their clinic. Furthermore, 40% of CNSEs saw new patients who had not previously been reviewed by one of the medical team. The level of responsibility for drug management was mainly at a monitoring and advisory level but a small number of CNSEs held much greater responsibility. The responses to the nine hypotheses were compared using cross tabulations. Conclusion: The findings of the study and the review of the CNSE in the UK revealed that the key roles of the CNSE were difficult to define. Yet, the respondents identified that there were common core features central to their contribution to care as specialist nurses. © 2003 BEA Trading Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Goodwin, M., Higgins, S., Lanfear, J. H., Lewis, S., & Winterbottom, J. (2004). The role of the clinical nurse specialist in epilepsy. A national survery. Seizure, 13(2), 87–94.

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