Are Nurse-Led Patient Consultations and Nurse-Led Dose Adjustments of Permanent Medication Acceptable for Patients with Diabetes Mellitus and Hypertension in General Practice? - Results of a Focus Group Study

Patient Prefer Adherence. 2023 Jun 23:17:1501-1512. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S411902. eCollection 2023.


Purpose: Practice nurse (PN)-led patient consultations and PN-led dosage adjustments of permanent medication are uncommon and not well studied in general practice (GP) in Germany. We investigated the perspectives of patients with common chronic diseases in Germany, diabetes mellitus (DM) type 2 and/or arterial hypertension (AT), on PN-led patient consultations and dosage adjustments of permanent medications in GP.

Patients and methods: In this exploratory qualitative study, online focus groups were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. Patients were recruited from collaborating GPs according to a predefined sampling plan. Patients were eligible for this study if they had DM or AT treated by their GP, were on at least one permanent medication and were aged 18 years or older. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using thematic analyses.

Results: Analyses of two focus groups, involving a total of 17 patients, revealed four main themes: (1) openness to the PN-led care and perceived benefits, eg because of patients' confidence in PNs' skills, or patients' impression that PN-led care would better meet their needs and increase their compliance. Some patients had (2) reservations and perceived risks, especially for PN-led medication changes eg feeling that medication adjustments were a GP's issue. Patients identified (3) reasons for encounters where they were likely to accept PN-led consultation and medication advice, eg management of DM, AT and thyroid disease. Patients also saw several important general requirements for the implementation of PN-led care in German general practice (4).

Conclusion: There is a potential for openness towards PN-led consultation and PN-led medication adjustment for permanent medication in patients with DM or AT. This study is the first qualitative study to investigate PN-led consultations and medication advice in German general practice. If the implementation of PN-led care is planned, our findings add the patients' perspectives of acceptable reasons for encounter for PN-led care and their general requirements.

Keywords: nurse-led care; patients’ perspective; primary care; qualitative study; task delegation; team care.