OBJECTIVE To compare the effectiveness of routine neonatal examination performed by senior house officers (SHOs) and advanced neonatal nurse practitioners (ANNPs).
DESIGN A prospective study of all infants referred to specialist orthopaedic, ophthalmology, and cardiology clinics. A standardised proforma was used to record details of the professional performing the neonatal check, any abnormalities discovered, source of ultimate referral to the specialist clinic, and specialist findings.
RESULTS 527 eligible infants were recruited. For hip abnormalities, ANNPs displayed greater sensitivity than SHOs (96% v 74%; p < 0.05). Similarly for eye abnormalities, ANNPs were more sensitive (100% v 33%; p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between ANNPs and SHOs in terms of positive predictive values or effectiveness of detecting cardiac abnormalities. There was no difference in underlying incidence of abnormalities between the two hospitals.
CONCLUSION ANNPs are significantly more effective in detecting abnormalities during the neonatal check. This has implications both for future workforce planning and current methods of medical training.
- advanced neonatal nurse practitioner
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