Fewer Polyps Detected by Inexperienced Nurses

Polyps more likely to be missed in colonoscopies staffed with less-experienced nurses
By Lisa Cockrell, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Colonoscopy procedures staffed by inexperienced nurses may be less likely to detect polyps, which may be explained by increased detection of hyperplastic lesions, according to research reported in the December issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Evan S. Dellon, M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of 3,631 screening colonoscopy procedures performed between 2003 and 2005.

During the study period, 19 of the 29 employed nurses were considered new to endoscopic nursing, the authors note. In procedures staffed by nurses with six months or less of experience, a polyp was detected in 40.3 percent of procedures, significantly fewer than the 46 percent detected in procedures staffed by more-experienced nurses, the researchers report. Similarly, multiple polyps were detected less often in procedures staffed by less-experienced nurses than by those with more experience (18.2 percent versus 25.5 percent, respectively), the report indicates.

"GI endoscopy nurse inexperience is associated with increased odds of not detecting polyps during screening colonoscopy compared with more-experienced nurses," the authors state. "These findings may have resonance with the current trend toward pay-for-performance in endoscopy reimbursement."

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