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The Burlington Randomized Trial of the Nurse Practitioner: Health Outcomes of Patients

DAVID L. SACKETT, M.D., M.Sc. Epid.; WALTER O. SPITZER, M.D., M.H.A., M.P.H.; MICHAEL GENT, M. Sc.; ROBIN S. ROBERTS, M. Tech.; W. IAN HAY, M.B., B.S.; GEORGIE M. LEFROY, R.N.; G. PATRICK SWEENY, B.Sc., M.D., C.M.; ISABEL VANDERVLIST, R.N.; JOHN C. SIBLEY, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C), M.R.C.P., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P.; LARRY W. CHAMBERS, M.Sc.; CHARLES H. GOLDSMITH, Ph.D.; ALEXANDER S. MACPHERSON, M.D., D. Psych, M.Sc.; and RONALD G. McAULEY, M.D., CM.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: DM34 and PR146, Ministry of Health, Ontario, Canada.

▸Address reprint requests to Dr. D. L. Sackett, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University Medical Centre, 1200 Main St. West, Hamilton Ontario, Canada L8S 4J9.


Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Ann Intern Med. 1974;80(2):137-142. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-80-2-137
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In a randomized trial of nurse practitioners as providers of primary clinical services, attention was devoted to the "outcomes" of clinical effectiveness and safety. These outcomes—expressed in physical, emotional, and social function—were assessed with newly developed methods that could be applied easily and objectively by nonclinicians to the two groups of patients under study: patients receiving conventional care and patients receiving care from nurse practitioners. Besides showing the comparability of these groups at the start of this study, these measurements showed similar levels of physical, emotional, and social function in the two groups after 1 year of receiving either nurse-practitioner or conventional care. Since the numbers of patients were large enough for a statistical detection of even small differences, the results indicate that the nurse practitioners were effective and safe. This study provides a base from which to explore the "process" of delivering primary clinical services by nurse practitioners.

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