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Publicise practice nurse role

GPs could cut their workload by clearly explaining the differences between their role and that of nurses in practice leaflets, a study has concluded.

Researchers argued the information would challenge patients' views that they should see GPs for all but the most minor ailments and give nurses greater credibility.

About 20 patients with urgent same-day appointments at two large practices were interviewed before and after consultations with nurses or GPs.

Lead researcher Sarah Redsell, reader in nursing and health studies at the University of Plymouth, said patients had concerns about nurses' skills, knowledge and authority.

She said: 'Patients' views reflected traditional hierarchies.

'They preferred to consult with GPs if they perceived their symptoms to be serious and with nurses for minor symptoms and reassurance. They thought nurses had more time for them and were more compassionate.'

Ms Redsell added: 'Nurses working in advanced roles need to be more credible to patients and one recommendation of ours is that information about their roles should be included in practice information leaflets.'

The study was published in January's Journal of Advanced Nursing.

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