Background: Our aim was to compare the effectiveness and patient satisfaction with flexible sigmoidoscopy performed by a registered nurse, general surgeons, and gastroenterology fellows.
Methods: Consecutive outpatients referred for sigmoidoscopy were assigned to have the procedure performed by the first available provider. Depth of insertion of the sigmoidoscope, complications, duration of the procedure, and percentage of patients with adenomas were recorded. After the procedure, patients completed a validated patient satisfaction questionnaire.
Results: Mean depth of insertion was less for general surgeons compared with the nurse and gastroenterology fellows (50 vs 53 vs 54 cm, respectively; p = 0.01). Mean duration of procedure was longer for the nurse compared with general surgeons and gastroenterology fellows (8.3 vs 7.6 vs 6.8 min, respectively; p = 0.0001). Percentage of patients with adenomas was similar among patients who underwent sigmoidoscopy by the endoscopists (7% vs 8% vs 9%; p = 0.81). No differences were detected between endoscopists for overall satisfaction (p = 0.60), technical skills of the endoscopist (p = 0.58), communication skills of the endoscopist (p = 0.61), or interpersonal skills of the endoscopist (p = 0.59).
Conclusion: No clinically significant differences in effectiveness or patient satisfaction were detected with flexible sigmoidoscopy performed by a registered nurse, general surgeons, or gastroenterology fellows.