Using nurse practitioners for skin cancer screening: A pilot study Journal Article


Authors: Oliveria, S. A.; Nehal, K. S.; Christos, P. J.; Sharma, N.; Tromberg, J. S.; Halpern, A. C.
Article Title: Using nurse practitioners for skin cancer screening: A pilot study
Abstract: Background: Skin cancer screening has the potential to detect early precancerous lesions and may ultimately be important in reducing melanoma mortality. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of trained nurse practitioners to accurately identify suspicious lesions in a clinical setting. Methods: We identified five nurse practitioners who had no previous experience in evaluating skin lesions. Each nurse practitioner participated in a training program for skin cancer detection consisting of a workshop, clinical apprenticeship, and didactic lectures. Results: Evaluation of nurse practitioner competency involved three assessments. First, the nurse practitioner's ability to distinguish benign and malignant lesions was assessed using clinical color slides. The sensitivity of all five nurse practitioners to refer benign and malignant lesions for dermatologic follow-up based on the slides was 100%, whereas the specificity ranged from 53% to 100%. Second, each nurse practitioner evaluated approximately 25 different patients along with a single dermatologist. The nurse practitioner's ability to correctly refer patients with suspicious lesions for dermatologic follow-up was determined based on the dermatologist's assessment of need for referral. Results suggested a referral sensitivity and specificity ranging from 67% to 100% and 62% to 100%, respectively. In the final clinical assessment, 30 patients were independently examined by two dermatologists and four nurse practitioners. Using the consensus clinical diagnosis of the dermatologists as the gold standard, the nurse practitioner's sensitivity for detecting significant skin cancer lesions ranged from 50% to 100% and the detection specificity was 99% to 100%. Conclusions: These preliminary results have important implications for skin cancer screening efforts and suggest that nurse practitioners can be trained to accurately identify and triage suspicious lesions. Copyright © 2001 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
Keywords: clinical article; review; melanoma; skin neoplasms; skin cancer; cancer screening; mass screening; training; clinical competence; pilot projects; primary prevention; nurse practitioner; nurse practitioners; humans; human
Journal Title: American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume: 21
Issue: 3
ISSN: 0749-3797
Publisher: Elsevier Science, Inc.  
Date Published: 2001-10-01
Start Page: 214
End Page: 217
Language: English
DOI: 10.1016/s0749-3797(01)00354-3
PUBMED: 11567843
PROVIDER: scopus
DOI/URL:
Notes: Export Date: 21 May 2015 -- Source: Scopus
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MSK Authors
  1. Allan C Halpern
    297 Halpern
  2. Kishwer S Nehal
    156 Nehal
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