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Digital Issues

Archive >  May, 2004 V, No. 5

Nurses Doing Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and Colonoscopy

Is it safe for nurse endoscopists to perform either - or both - of these procedures?

Bill Meltzer

Sound familiar? Your docs devote long hours to meeting the ever-growing demand for colorectal cancer screening procedures, your GI nurses work efficiently and your infection control team has scope reprocessing down to an art form - yet you still can't keep up.

Some facilities are boosting their screening capacity by training advanced practice nurses to independently perform diagnostic endoscopy, specifically flexible sigmoidoscopy. A couple of facilities have even considered letting flex sig-trained nurses train for and transition to colonoscopy, a more complicated procedure.

Nurse endoscopy sparks heated debate. While 40 percent of respondents to an Outpatient Surgery reader poll believe advance practice nurses can safely do flex sigs, nearly 80 percent oppose non-physician colonoscopy. Read on to learn what colleagues at the front end of the nurse endoscopy practice curve have to say.

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