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A case study of nurse practitioner care compared with general practitioner care for children with respiratory tract infections.

  • van Vugt, Saskia F1
  • van de Pol, Alma C1
  • Cleveringa, Frits G W1
  • Stellato, Rebecca K2
  • Kappers, Marieke P1
  • de Wit, Niek J1
  • Damoiseaux, Roger A M J1
  • 1 Department of General Practice, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
  • 2 Department of Biostatistics and Research Support, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. , (Netherlands)
Published Article
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
May 13, 2018
DOI: 10.1111/jan.13712
PMID: 29754411


To compare quality of care provided by nurse practitioners (NP) with care provided by general practitioners (GP) for children with respiratory tract infections (RTI) in the Netherlands. Nurse practitioners increasingly manage acute conditions in general practice, with opportunities for more protocolled care. Studies on quality of NPs' care for children with RTIs are limited to the US healthcare system and do not take into account baseline differences in illness severity. Retrospective observational cohort study. Data were extracted from electronic healthcare records of children 0-6 years presenting with RTI between January-December 2013. Primary outcomes were antibiotic prescriptions and early return visits. Generalized estimating equations were used to correct for potential confounders. A total of 899 RTI consultations were assessed (168 seen by NP; 731 by GP). Baseline characteristics differed between these groups. Overall antibiotic prescription and early return visit rates were 21% and 24%, respectively. Adjusted odds ratio for antibiotic prescription after NP vs. GP delivered care was 1.40 (95% confidence interval 0.89-2.22) and for early return visits 1.53 (95% confidence interval 1.01-2.31). Important confounder for antibiotic prescription was illness severity. Presence of wheezing was a confounder for return visits. Complication and referral rates did not differ. Antibiotic prescription, complication and referral rates for paediatric RTI consultations did not differ significantly between NP and GP consultations, after correction for potential confounders. General practitioners, however, see more severely ill children and have a lower return visit rate. A randomised controlled study is needed to determine whether NP care quality is truly noninferior. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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