Training of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform screening flexible sigmoidoscopy

J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2001 Oct;13(10):455-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2001.tb00005.x.


Purpose: To describe the colorectal cancer-screening program at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a large multispecialty medical group, in which nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) perform screening flexible sigmoidoscopies.

Data sources: Scientific literature, consensus statements and guidelines, and the protocol utilized to train NPs and PAs to perform flexible sigmoidoscopy. Data from 9,500 screening procedures are presented.

Conclusions: In comparison with gastroenterologists, trained NP and PA endoscopists perform screening flexible sigmoidoscopy with similar accuracy and safety but at lower cost.

Implications for practice: Screening flexible sigmoidoscopy performed by NPs and PAs may increase the availability and lower the cost of flexible sigmoidoscopy for colorectal cancer screening.

MeSH terms

  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Nurse Practitioners / education*
  • Physician Assistants / education*
  • Sigmoidoscopy*