A nurse-led clinic (also known as a nurse-managed or a nurse-run clinic) can be difficult to define because each can vary in the service provided. Clinics are generally run by a qualified and registered nurse and have developed in a variety of specialisms in recent years. They are found in hospital or community settings where patients are seen by a nurse as opposed to another health care professional such as a doctor. The patient will visit via an appointment system, although ‘drop-in’ nurse-led/nurse-run clinics do exist, running at specified times.
The nurse has his or her own patient case load and the ability to admit and discharge from the clinic. The level of professional autonomy will vary both within countries and across the world but is generally high and many clinics offer what may be termed ‘advanced practice.’ This may include detailed physical assessment, clinical history taking, monitoring of ongoing conditions, managing medicines – such as nurse prescribing if legislation and professional
development allows this – health promotion, education, and psychological support.
Importantly, clinics can assist in providing a high quality service while using health care resources efficiently and can offer a continuity of patient care. The aim of all nurse-led/nurse-run clinics must be to provide a measurably effective service. Audit and evaluation are an important part of a developing service.
A further paper exploring differing levels of nurse-led practice and which can be applied to a definition of a nurse-led/run clinic is: Richardson et al (2003) New horizons: the motives, diversity and future of ‘nurse led’ care. Journal of Nursing Management 11: 80-84. Abstract here.