An Assessment of the Continuing Education Needs of Nurse Practitioners Who Manage Patients With Psoriasis

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Abstract

Introduction

Psoriasis affects 2%–3% of the U.S. population and can have a profound impact on patient quality of life. Nurse practitioners (NPs) have a key role in managing psoriasis, and they need to stay current in this rapidly evolving area. Continuing education programs can increase the capabilities of NPs; however, these programs must target the areas of greatest educational need. This study was conducted to identify and quantify educational needs among NPs related to psoriasis.

Methods

Practice patterns of NPs were assessed using a case vignette survey, a validated method of assessing clinician practice patterns. The survey instrument presented two patient cases followed by questions presenting choices for severity assessment, treatment approach, and assessment of comorbidity risks.

Results

Several important educational gaps were identified by this study. NPs generally treat patients appropriately based on the perceived level of disease severity; however, approximately half of NPs underestimated disease severity in both patient cases, setting up the possibility of undertreatment. Additional gaps were identified in assessing risks of common psoriasis comorbidities.

Conclusions

The results of this study will allow for the design of optimally targeted continuing education programs, which in turn will enhance the capabilities of NPs who manage patients with psoriasis.

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