Shortages in health care personnel have caused the expansion of nurses* duties. Physician acceptance of this augmented role for the nurse will depend in fact on appropriate studies. Extending the responsibilities of the nurse practitioner to active patient treatment is the basis of this report. Twenty-three female patients with maturity-onset diabetes mellitus were selected for this study, which lasted six months. Twelve patients comprised the experimental group. Their medical management was supervised by a nurse practitioner trained in the management of diabetes mellitus. The remaining eleven patients with diabetes mellitus were managed in the traditional fashion by a clinic physician. Standard measurements of the course of the disease were followed during the six-month interval, and comparisons were made.
No difference existed in patient morbidity or mortality and only minor differences in specific measurements of the course of diabetes mellitus between the two groups. However, a significant improvement in the patients' understanding of diabetes mellitus occurred with the nurse practitioner group.
This study adds to the viewpoint that the role of the nurse practitioner may be extended to encompass more comprehensive treatment programs in patients with chronic disease. Demonstrations of efficacy of the nurse practitioner, utilizing properly planned studies, will help the medical community to gain greater acceptance of the nurse practitioner as an active member of the personal care health team.
© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.