In the National Health Service (UK), there are ever increasing demands to streamline care and develop patient pathways and guidelines as justification for any test or procedure. This is to ensure optimisation in patient care and experience.
The role of a specialist nurse focuses on ensuring appropriateness and swiftness of investigations, including providing a high level of clinical care which has its foundations on communication and education for the patient/carers.
Our aim was to determine if patients who had their short synacthen test (SST) done by someone other than the endocrine specialist nurse (ESN) encountered a negative impact on their experience and/or potentially standard of care and results.
Patients were contacted and had telephone interviews, in addition to a comprehensive review of their notes by the endocrine team.
65 patients had SST over a 6-month period. 33 (51%) of patients were contactable, and 8 (24%) of them had their tests carried out by the ESN.
87% of patients seen by the ESN had results documented in the notes, 63% had recorded actions taken. Following phone interviews 87% stated the test had been explained to them and were satisfied with care received.
52% of the patients not seen by the ESN had results documented in the notes, 60% had recorded actions taken. Following phone interviews 42% stated the test had been explained to them and 63% reported they had been satisfied with the care received.
Results showed that patients who were seen and treated by the ESN were significantly more likely to have their test explained to them and more likely to have their results documented in notes (P=<0.05). There was also an increase in patient satisfaction (P=0.356).
It was therefore concluded that it is advisable for the short synacthen test to be carried out by an ESN.