Introduction The role of the nurse specialist in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the UK has developed significantly. Audit work has illustrated the quality indicators provided by the role yet systematic review identified the need for clearer role definition and the completion of a scoping exercise of posts and models of practice. This abstract provides the results of the first UK national audit of IBD nursing.
Methods Each UK country was represented in the dataset, adults and paediatrics. Inclusion criteria: nurse with a specialist/advanced role caring for patients with IBD. Nurses were identified through the Royal College of Nursing IBD Network and advertising at meetings/nursing press. The audit was in three parts: demographic of the IBD nurse; demographic of IBD nurse service; prospective individual nurse activity over a 10-day period. An electronic reporting system was used to enter data and completed during a 10-day survey period May 2011.
Results Response rate was 82.5% (198/240). Numbers of IBD nurses are increasing but fall short of the recommended level set by the IBD Standards. Half of the nurses had been employed for <5 yrs (54%) and were in their first specialist nursing role. A quarter (25.8%) held no formal qualification at degree level. 55% make decisions to prescribe, drug type, dosage and treat. Over the 10-day audit period 6472 calls were taken through telephone advice lines, 3256 patients were seen in outpatient clinics, 112 in-patients with IBD were reviewed by the nurse specialists and 1203 patients attended to the nursing service for day case treatment. Services provided included education, telephone, inpatient/outpatient follow-up and management of biologic services. Advanced nursing practice, nurse led clinics and non-medical prescribing was identified. Two thirds of IBD nurse specialist services are suspended when the IBD nurse is away. Extrapolating daily over a 12 month period the data shows IBD nurses provide 28 980 patient episodes per year and work on average 33 min extra per day, equates to a minimum £347 200 per year.
Conclusion IBD nurses in the UK are carrying out significant levels of activity influencing the management of considerable numbers of patients and play a fundamental role in complex medicine management. Roles are exclusively based in acute care and have other GI nursing roles alongside IBD. Recommendations are a review of education and training needs and further national audit of the quality of patient experience in relation to IBD nursing services.
Competing interests None declared.