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  1. Dudley-Brown, Sharon PhD, RN, FNP-BC
  2. Baker, Kathy PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CGRN, FAAN


Ulcerative colitis negatively impacts patients' quality of life, but little is known about which aspects of patients' lives are affected, how patients' perceptions compare with patients with other chronic conditions, and how these perceptions compare with those of gastroenterologists. This review discusses two recent Internet surveys: (1) the Ulcerative Colitis: New Observations on Remission Management And Lifestyle (UC:NORMAL) and (2) the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America studies. The surveys revealed that the major impact ulcerative colitis has on patients includes frequent disease manifestations, a substantial psychological burden, and disruption to daily activities. This was more evident in patients with ulcerative colitis than those with migraine, asthma, or rheumatoid arthritis. Physicians' perceptions were considerably different from those of patients, as physicians believed that the disease had a lesser impact on patient quality of life. Furthermore, patients and physicians also identified nonadherence to prescribed medication as a major concern in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Improved communication and education is needed to address nonadherence and poor health related quality of life in patients living with ulcerative colitis. The influence of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses on physicians, nurses, and patients may help improve adherence and long-term disease outcomes, including patients' health related quality of life. The nurse practitioner, working with both patients who have ulcerative colitis and the physicians who care for these patients, is uniquely placed to address these needs.