This document was published by the PDNSA in 2001 with a foreword by Sheila Roy and a preface by Sue Thomas.
Since the first Parkinson's Disease Nurse Specialist (PDNS) was appointed in 1989, the need for a specialist nurse to work with this patient group has become increasingly apparent. The role is diverse and these practitioners are specialist professionals who exercise high levels of judgement, discretion and decision-making in clinical care. They are able to monitor and improve standards of care through supervision of practice and clinical audit. They provide skilled professional leadership and develop nursing practice through research, teaching and supporting colleagues in other disciplines.
In November 1994, John Bowis MP, the Undersecretary of State for Health launched the Parkinson's Disease Society Nurse Specialist Project. Since that date differing practice models have evolved according to local circumstance and need. There are currently almost 120 PDNS employed throughout the UK. Their skill and flexibility in caring for people in hospital or at home, makes them extremely valuable in the management of patients with Parkinson's.
The important role nurses have within the NHS has been recognised by the Government in the NHS plan. PDNS are already undertaking many of the key roles for nurses envisaged by the Chief Nursing Officer. The Government has also developed the role of consultant nurse in the NHS to ensure a career pathway for those senior nurses wanting to retain patient contact and already the first consultant nurse in Parkinson's disease has been appointed.