Exploring the perceived role and impact of the nurse consultant

Musculoskeletal Care. 2006 Sep;4(3):167-73. doi: 10.1002/msc.87.


Background: Nurse consultant roles were introduced in 1999 with defined role criteria including expert practice, research, education and leadership. The primary objective of the role is to develop nurses and nursing to provide effective patient outcomes. In 2000 the first nurse consultant in rheumatology was appointed to establish a co-ordinated service for the management of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain. There are now ten nurse consultants within rheumatology yet little is known of their role or impact.

Aim: The aim of the study was to identify the perceived role and impact of one nurse consultant (NC) in rheumatology within the context of being a practitioner-researcher.

Method: Seven peers of the NC and five patients cared for by the NC participated in a semi-structured interview to identify their perceptions regarding the role of the NC within the rheumatology service.

Results: The following themes were identified from the interviews: (1) development of a new model of care for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain; (2) holistic person-centred care experienced and valued by the patient; (3) leadership and education; and (4) feeling cared for.

Conclusion: The NC role had impacted on service development and culture in the instigation of a chronic musculoskeletal pain service and leadership and education activities. Patients experienced the holistic nature of the role.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Nursing
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / complications
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / nursing
  • Nurse Clinicians*
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / nursing
  • Rheumatology*