Patients' perceptions of "uncertainty" in nurse practitioner consultations.

Heather Barnes, Alison Crumble, Caroline Carlisle, David Pilling

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The aim of this qualitative study was to explore patients' perceptions of consulting with a nurse practitioner in situations of clinical uncertainty. Uncertainty in this context is defined as one where there is no obvious diagnosis, treatment or where the outcome of the consultation is not definite. Three general practice sites were recruited to participate. 43 patients who consulted with one of three nurse practitioners were interviewed using a semistructured schedule. The nurse practitioners identified uncertainty in 30 of these consultations; only two patients expressed any awareness of uncertainty with the consultation. The results showed that patients appear to accept that there will be a level of uncertainty in some consultations. Recognition of uncertainty within the consultation does not appear to have a negative effect on patients' perception of the nurse practitioner as they feel that the nurse will refer to a doctor if necessary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1350-1354
    Number of pages4
    JournalBritish journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2004


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