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Epilepsy Action Annual Research Prize 2004 - Melesina Goodwin

The Role of the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Epilepsy: A National Survey

Melesina Goodwin

Clinical Nurse Specialist in Epilepsy, Northampton General Hospital

A questionnaire was developed by the researchers based on their own knowledge and experience of their roles as clinical nurse specialists in epilepsy (CNSE). Nine hypotheses were developed to help clarify the variety of roles. The nine hypotheses explored the variety of work settings, the grade the nurse was employed on, whether the nurse worked in specific clinics and had a specific role in the clinic setting and to discover how autonomously they worked.

Patient caseload was recorded, percentage of the time spent on allied responsibilities, such as the telephone helpline, and the level of responsibility held for drug management.

The results highlighted the diversity of the roles of the CNSE with only a small percentage of nurses running nurse led clinics. Some nurses didn’t take a lot of responsibility for decision making with their patients, whilst others worked with a great deal of autonomy. These findings led to the conclusion that there was a need for a structured pathway for the specialist nurse to move from novice to expert.

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