Contribution of nurses to the quality of care in management of inflammatory bowel disease: a synthesis of the evidence

J Crohns Colitis. 2010 Dec;4(6):611-22. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2010.08.009. Epub 2010 Sep 17.


Background: The purpose of quality of care programs is to improve patient outcomes. In programs targeting patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), nurses play a key role.

Aim: To know the available scientific evidence on the quality of care in IBD management, at the levels of structure, process and outcome, in relation to nurses.

Methods: Systematic search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, Índice Médico Español, Cochrane Library, and grey literature. Inclusion criteria were: 1) documents referring IBD; 2) documents providing relevant information on nurses' involvement in the management of IBD; and 3) an original article.

Results: A total of 284 documents were identified, 15 of which were included: 8 related with structure, 12 with process, and 6 with outcomes. Some documents treated more than one level. At the level of structure, services should incorporate specialist nurses as part of the multidisciplinary team, as well as resources to facilitate patient access to nursing care. Notable at the process level, organizational aspects and nurses' competencies and skills in the management of IBD have been described. Among the outcomes mentioned are clinical outcomes, quality of life, and patient satisfaction attributable to nursing staff. No evidence was found about the association between structure or process issues with patient outcomes. Most of the studies reviewed have methodological limitations.

Conclusions: The available evidence provide useful information for the design of standards of structure and process relating to nurses' management of IBD. The IBD nurses' challenge is to provide evidence that these standards help improve health outcomes in patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / nursing*
  • Nursing Care / standards
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care*