In order to critically analyze the role of a consultant nurse the author feels it is important to look at the definition of a nurse consultant role, discuss and examine events leading to the existence and development of such roles (history) and finally the impact on quality of patient care of a consultant nurse. The author's current area of practice- a nine bedded adult intensive care unit, where no such role currently exists. However, the author will examine the potentialities of such a role, the possible benefits to patient care and barriers which may be encountered by a consultant nurse in this environment. The model use on the analysis of such a role will be the Manley's 1997, see appendix 1.
Author will use research in order to identify key aspects the role would be likely to encompass, and then analyze and evaluate the advanced/consultant nurses role and conceptual framework will be applied.
Discussion will also include possible legal and professional implications of the role and how it may be affected in the current climate of the NHS of ever changing and diversifying roles in order to meet patient demands.
Nurse consultant is an expert practitioner and professional leader able to assess information and mange change, someone who is capable of understanding and solving complex problems, able to shape the agenda for the future. (DOH, 2000)
Since 1972 The Briggs Report (cited by Bowler and Mallik, 1998) recognized an overlap between nursing and medical roles, and where these duties were performed by nurses they were termed 'extended roles.
In 1977 the DHSS (cited by Last, 1992) stated that the clinical nursing role may be extended by delegation from a doctor and in response to an emergency. Nurses had to gain certificates of competence in order to perform tasks referred to...