Measuring the Contribution and Complexity of Nurse and Physiotherapy Consultants: A Feasibility Study

Janet Richardson*, 1, Roberta Ainsworth2, Ann Humphreys3, Elizabeth Stenhouse4, Mary Watkins5
1 Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
2 Torbay Hospital, Torquay, Devon TQ2 7AA, UK
3 Faculty of Health and Social Work, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
4 FF20, Peninsula Allied Health Centre, School of Health Professions, UK
5 University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK

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Creative Commons License
© Richardson et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Faculty of Health and Social Work, Room C502 Portland Square, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth Devon PL4 8AA, UK; Tel: 01752 233872; E-mail:


Advanced practice roles in nursing and other health professions have become integral to a range of healthcare services world-wide providing experienced practitioners with the opportunity to extend their roles and influence decision making whilst maintaining patient contact. However, there has been limited research to evaluate the impact on health services of these advanced practice roles.

The aim of this feasibility study was to analyse Nurse and Allied Health Professionals (AHP) Consultant activity in the four functions of the role (education, expert practice, leadership, research). A structured diary assessed the activity of five Consultant Nurses and one Consultant Physiotherapist over a one week period. Detailed analysis of a clinic carried out by one of the Consultants was undertaken using a mapping procedure.

Results suggest that the activity diary, combined with mapping of activities, illustrate the complexity and variety of the role and facilitate meaningful reflection on what advanced practitioners do.

Keywords: Nurse, midwife, physiotherapist, consultant, effectiveness.