Background and study aims: Colonoscopy is increasingly performed by nurse endoscopists. We aimed to assess the endoscopic quality and patient experience of these procedures.
Patients and methods: This prospective multicenter study analyzed 100 consecutive colonoscopies each for 10 trained nurse endoscopists with respect to endoscopic quality and patient experience. Colonoscopies were performed under the supervision of a gastroenterologist, using the techniques and protocols of the participating hospitals. Patient experience was assessed using a questionnaire.
Results: Most nurse endoscopists were female (90%; median age 43 [range 35-49]). Before the start of the study, they had performed a median of 528 colonoscopies (range 208 - 2103). For the 1000 patients, mean age was 56 +/- 15 years; 55% were women; and 96% were in class I or II according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists' physical status classification system. Colonoscopies were performed for screening or surveillance in 42%; for symptomatic indications in 58% of patients. The unassisted cecal intubation rate was 94%; the mean withdrawal time was 10 +/- 5 minutes. The adenoma detection rate was 26.7%. In 229 of the colonoscopies (23%), the nurse endoscopists required assistance from the supervising gastroenterologist. The complication rate was 0.2%: one perforation and one cardiopulmonary complication. The questionnaire was completed by 734/1000 patients (73%) and of these 694/734 (95%) were satisfied with the endoscopic procedure. Among the respondents 530/734 (72%) had no specific preference for a physician or nurse endoscopist, whereas 113/734 (15%) preferred a physician endoscopist, and 91/734 (12%) preferred a nurse endoscopist.
Conclusion: The nurse endoscopists performed colonoscopies according to the internationally recognized quality standards and with high patient satisfaction.