BACKGROUND: The position of nurse consultant (NC) was introduced in Hong Kong by the Hospital Authority in January 2009. Seven NCs were appointed in five clinical specialties: diabetes, renal, wound and stoma care, psychiatrics, and continence. This was a pilot to explore the impact of the introduction of NCs on patient health and service outcomes.
METHODS: The present paper describes a historically matched controlled study. A total of 280 patients, 140 in each cohort under NC or non-NC care, participated in the study. The patient health and service outcomes of both cohorts were evaluated and compared: accident and emergency visits, hospital admissions, length of hospital stays, number of acute complications, number of times of treatment or regimen altered by nurses according to patient's condition, glycated haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels, urea and urea-to-creatinine ratios, and number of wound dressings for patients in corresponding specialty units. A patient satisfaction instrument was also used to assess the NC cohort.
RESULTS: The study showed that patients under NC care had favourable patient health and service outcomes compared with those under non-NC care. The NC cohort also reported a high level of patient satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS: The study demonstrates that the introduction of NCs in specialty units may have a positive impact on patients' health and service outcomes. The high level of patient satisfaction scores indicates that patients appreciate the care they are receiving with the introduction of NCs.
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