More nurses taking on doctors’ responsibilities

Source: http://www.straitstimes.com

More nurses here are taking on greater responsibilities, including those previously handled by doctors.

Since 2012, the National Healthcare Group (NHG) has seen a rise in the number of nurse-led clinics, which are run by registered nurses or advanced practice nurses – senior nurses who have at least a master’s degree in nursing.

There are now 31 clinics operated and managed by advanced practice nurses – more than double the number in 2012. These are located across NHG institutions, such as Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the Institute of Mental Health and six of the nine polyclinics here.

At the National Skin Centre (NSC), registered nurses have run the cryotherapy clinic – also known as the warts clinic – and the Department of Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Clinic (DSC) since 2012.

Nurses at the cryotherapy clinic both manage and provide treatment to patients with warts. They can also stop treatment and give open dates to patients once they have recovered. These duties were previously done only by doctors.

Similarly, at the DSC, nurses screen patients and are trained to detect symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. They have taken over doctors’ duties in ordering blood tests and vaccinations for patients.

The increase in nurse-run clinics has benefited patients, doctors and nurses themselves, said NSC’s head of nursing Brenda Lim. Costs and waiting times for patients have been reduced, while doctors are freed up to focus on more complex cases.

Nurses also receive more specialised training and opportunities for career progression and have more time to build rapport with patients.

“They have more time to talk to patients… and explain to them how to prevent their (illness) from happening again,” said Ms Lim.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s