Nurses take charge on colorectal cancer

Study shows they can help ensure adherence to guideline recommendations

Nurses are leading the charge when it comes to tracking colorectal cancer in at-risk patients, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The results show that a system where nurses make recommendations based on NHMRC guidelines, which are then confirmed by a doctor, has reduced both the number of unnecessary colonoscopies and the number of cases that progress to cancer.

The nurse-led model of colorectal cancer surveillance has improved compliance with guideline recommendations to 97% in public hospitals, compared with 83% for physician-led recall recommendations in private hospitals.

This is a statistically significant difference, the study authors say.

“Our results may have implications for both early and late surveillance colonoscopy, but we focused on procedures undertaken ahead of schedule as procedures performed too frequently can