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Neal Cook, Deirdre McNamee, Brian McFetridge, Pat Deeny
British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, Vol. 3, Iss. 10, 10 Oct 2007, pp 472 - 479

Parkinsonís disease (PD) nurse specialists have been in existence in the UK since 1989. Few studies to date have analysed the perceptions of health professionals in relation to this service. Such perceptions are vital to the implementation of specialist nursing roles. The aim of the study discussed in this article was to analyse the role of the PD nurse specialist from the perspective of health professionals who would be in day-to-day contact with the PD nurse specialist and other professional stakeholders associated with development of the role in one health-care trust in Northern Ireland. A sample of GPs (n=100), community nurses (n=100), acute care nurses (n=100) and nursing home managers (n=40) were surveyed using a specially designed questionnaire (Cronbachís alpha 0.9328). Stakeholders (n=6) who were associated with development of the role were also interviewed. Findings show that, on the whole, health professionals and stakeholders view the PD nurse specialist role as being central to the care and support of patients and carers. All are positive about the advice they receive from the PD nurse specialist especially in relation to medication management. Concerns exist in relation to the low level of awareness of the role among some GPs and most acute care nurses. More clarification is needed in relation to how the PD nurse specialist is involved at all stages of the Parkinsonís disease illness trajectory.

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