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N003. Inflammatory bowel disease nursing in Canada: An examination of Canadian gastroenterology nurses and their role in IBD care

J. Stretton1, B. Currie2, U. Chauhan3, 1St. Joseph's Healthcare, Gastroenterology, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, 2QEII Health Sciences Centre, Digestive Care and Endoscopy, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 3Hamilton Health Sciences, Gastroenterology, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic relapsing illness and includes Crohn's Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). The disease course often fluctuates over time requiring maintenance therapy and acute interventions to target flares of disease. IBD management requires a multi-disciplinary approach to care from physicians, nurses, dieticians, social workers, and psychologists. As nurses play a pivotal role in managing chronic disease, the aim is to assess and determine how many nurses work primarily with IBD patients in Canada.


A 29-question survey was developed within Survey Monkey, to investigate nursing demographics, IBD nursing roles, and nursing services provided across Canada. The survey was distributed to the Canadian Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (CSGNA), the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG), Progress Patient Assistance Program and BioAdvance Program Coordinators (via email) and was posted online for a period of 15 weeks.


Of the 275 survey respondents, results showed 98% were female with 69% employed in full-time positions. Among them, 43% were between the ages of 51–60 and 32% were between the ages of 41–50. In addition, 54% of those surveyed were diploma prepared Registered Nurses, 35% were Baccalaureate prepared nurses and 4% were Masters prepared nurses. Almost half were employed in Ontario 44% (121), followed by 19% (54) in Alberta and 9% (25) in British Columbia. All provinces were represented with except Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. In all, 43% (119 nurses) were identified as working in the Endoscopy. Of the 90% who responded as working with IBD patients, only 30% (79) had a primary role in IBD care. Among the 79 nurses with a primary role in IBD care, 80% worked with the adult population, 10% with the pediatric population and 10% worked with both adult and pediatric patients. Majority of IBD nurses worked in an outpatient setting (67%).


Survey results show only a small percentage of Canadian GI nurses provide clinical IBD care. A great number of respondents had multiple roles and responsibilities and provided a variety of services. The exact depth of care and service is unclear and further studies exploring nursing services, educational preparation, scope of nursing practice, nursing responsibilities and educational needs of IBD nurses in Canada are needed. The establishment of a National IBD Nurses Interest Group was strongly supported by the respondents.