CPD-Education and self-assessment| Volume 10, ISSUE 8, P625-627, December 2001

Personal view: Randomized controlled trials in epilepsy specialist nursing: the seduction of content by form

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      Research into the effectiveness of epilepsy specialist nursing needs to take into account a number of factors, which have not been adequately addressed in previous studies. Nursing outcome measures are different to medical ones and it is inappropriate to confuse these. Specialist nurses affect the whole culture of a service, and their impact on service quality may go beyond that of their individual patient contacts. Thus randomized studies within a service that already has specialist nurses may not give valid results. Some service users will benefit more from direct contact with a specialist nurse than others, and people who give informed consent to take part in randomized controlled trials might not be representative of those who would benefit most from specialist nurse access. The stampede for level one evidence risks failing to address the issues properly by overvaluing research process (form) against its appropriateness (content), yet there remain great opportunities for good quality research in this area.




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