Introduction Nurses legally deliver medication independently using INP or PGDs. Despite growing evidence of clinical application, there is limited sexual health research.
Methods INP and PGD nurses from five UK sexual health services completed a questionnaire, and recorded two weeks of clinical activity in a specifically designed diary, Aug 2015–Aug 2016.
Results Questionnaire response rate: 64% (61/95; INP=26/28, 93%; PGD=35/67, 52%). Respondents were mostly female (n=55/61, 90%), aged 35–44years (n=21/61, 34%). INP were mainly Band 7 or above (n=18/26, 69%), educated to Masters Level (n=16/26, 62%); PGD users were mostly Band 6 (n=24/35, 68.6%), educated to Diploma Level (n=13/35, 37%). INP had mean of 2.9 years more sexual health experience than PGD users (mean: INP=13.0; PGD=10.1years). Both groups reported access to medications was essential (n=56/61, 92%) and made their roles easier (n=60/61, 98%).
Overall 61% (INP=17/26, 65%; PGD=20/35, 57%) of questionnaire respondents completed the diary. Of the total diary entries (INP=737; PGD=593), INP managed more ‘new’ care episodes (n=512/737, 70%) than PGD users (n=294/593, 50%). There was no difference in medication delivery frequency (INP=460/737, 62%; PGD=348/593, 59%; p=0.16). However, PGD users required additional medication delivery support from other healthcare professionals more often than INP (INP=419/460, 91%; PGD=240/348, 69%; p<0.01). PGD users had marginally shorter patient consultations than INP (mean 22.8 vs. 24.9mins). Mean consultation support was 8mins/consultation (both groups).
Discussion Sexual health nurses require independent access to medication for their roles. INP are more likely to practice autonomously, but may spend longer with patients.
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