Call for spirometry nurse training

GENERAL practice is missing the mark when it comes to  COPD diagnosis, and training practice nurses to use spirometry might help, Australian researchers say.

Upskilling the general practice nurse would ensure spirometry was done in a consistent way in a practice because one nurse would be dedicated to the task. This might lead to more accurate diagnosis, Professor Nick Zwar, professor of general practice at the University of NSW, said.

“The practice nurse can certainly learn how to do spirometry but it does take time both in the training and doing the technique well. 

“You need to do a reasonable amount of it to do it well. If there is someone in the practice a GP can refer to, enough to keep that person’s skills up, it is probably a better option and a practice nurse is well placed to do that role,” he said.

Professor Zwar’s comments follow a study that found a substantial proportion of patients