Roles of nurse-surgeons in global surgical care: A scoping review


Aim: To identify the roles of nurse-surgeons in the provision of surgical care.

Design: Scoping review.

Methods: This scoping review adhered to the JBI guideline for scoping reviews and EQUATOR Network's PRISMA-ScR checklist. Searches were performed from May 2022 to July 2022 using a combination of MeSH headings, keywords and filters via database and hand searching based on the eligibility criteria. Keywords included nurse-surgeon, nurse endoscopist, nurse hysteroscopist and nurse cystoscopist. Data sources were CINAHL, Cochrane, Google Scholar, PubMed and Scopus. Descriptive analysis was used to report the findings.

Results: Ninety-six included records indicated nurse-surgeon practice in 26 countries. Forty-one nurse-surgeon titles were found, the majority of which were types of nurse practitioner. A total of 5,684,198 surgeries were performed by nurse-surgeons varying from laparotomies to biopsies. Nine records reported that nurse-surgeons perform surgeries safely and on par with physicians with zero to minimal complications. Nineteen records reported improved surgical care efficiency by nurse-surgeons in terms of patient access to surgery, waiting times, surgery times, patient show rates, patient education, physician workload and junior physicians' training. Seven records reported high patient satisfaction. Nurse-surgeons were cost-effective according to five records. Thirteen records recommended the standardization of nurse-surgeon practice.

Conclusion: Nurse-surgeons performed millions of surgeries worldwide assisting in easing the global surgical burden. This review identified the roles and benefits nurse-surgeons play in global surgical care. Research gaps on nurse-surgeon roles were discovered including the ambiguity in nurse-surgeon titles and the need to regulate nurse-surgeon practice.

Impact: This research addressed the clinical safety, quality, contribution to timely surgical access and cost efficiency of nurse-surgeon performed surgeries, as well as the need to standardize nurse-surgeon practice and use a more consistent nurse-surgeon title to ensure role identification and monitoring.


advanced practice, day surgery, empowerment, endoscopy, nurse practitioners, nurse roles, surgical nursing, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, theatre nursing, workforce issues

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