Aims: To investigate effectiveness of the nurse clinician as a Non-Medical Surgical Assistant compared with the Medical Surgical Assistant.
Background: Non-Medical Surgical Assistants are clinicians who are not medical practitioners. The surgical assistant works directly with the primary surgeon intraoperatively.
Design: A pragmatic, retrospective, observational study on patients undergoing Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Repair or Primary Unilateral Total Hip Arthroplasty.
Each patient received intraoperative care from a consultant surgeon and a Medical Surgical Assistant or Non-Medical Surgical Assistant. All surgical assistants were registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Methods: Data were collected between 01/07/2014 and 30/06/2017. The effect that surgical assistant choice had on patient outcomes was estimated using regression statistical models. Six dependent variables, including length of stay, for clinical outcome assessment were specified.
Results/Findings: The groups were equivalent in age, gender, and American Society of Anaesthesiologists scores. There were more emergency procedures in the Medical Surgical Assistant group and more hip surgery in the Non-Medical Surgical Assistant group. Patient outcome assessment showed no statistically significant differences for surgical assistant types.
Conclusion: The nurse clinician in the role of Non-Medical Surgical Assistant was shown to be effective with equivalent patient outcomes compared with the Medical Surgical Assistant.