These nurses are trained to perform minor surgery

Nurse practitioners in Glasgow, Scotland, will begin performing minor surgery in dermatology and plastic surgery after completing a credentialing program recently introduced by a large association of hospitals in Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University.

"The project will see nurse practitioners extensively trained to a level where they are qualified to undertake minor surgical procedures," says Margaret C. Smith, RN, RM, MBA, director of nursing for North Glasgow Trust, an association of 11 hospitals in Scotland. The result of this training will be a reduction in waiting times for the scheduling of some minor procedures, which will bring direct benefits to patients, she says.

Throughout the hospital association, nurse practitioners already run a number of nurse-led clinics, including endoscopy and colonoscopy.

The degree-level course lasts a minimum of six months and is a combination of academic and practical assessment. After the nurses complete the course, they specialize in their chosen field and are mentored and monitored as they begin to perform surgery. A minimum of five years in their chosen specialty is required for admission to the program. The first graduates are expected to begin performing surgery in March 2004.