Expert consensus on a nurse-led model of medication abortion provision in regional and rural Victoria, Australia: a Delphi study Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To develop a nurse-led model of medication abortion provision for the primary health care setting of regional and rural Victoria, where, despite decriminalization, access to abortion services is restricted. STUDY DESIGN:This study used a three-round Delphi process to explore consensus about a nurse-led medication abortion model. We recruited a panel consisting of physicians, nurses and other experts involved with or interested in medication abortion provision. The research team thematically analyzed the responses to the seven open-ended questions of the first questionnaire. In subsequent rounds, panelists rated the 83 generated statements for agreement, using feedback and statistical summaries. RESULTS:A total of 24 panelists participated; 17 completed all three rounds. Through the iterative process, the panel reached consensus (at least 75% agreement level) on 69 statements, relating to model construction and the barriers to model implementation and their solutions. Due to current health care system restrictions we not only developed a 'fully autonomous' nurse-led model, but also a 'legally feasible' model. For nurses working in primary health settings that lack GP support we additionally constructed an 'absence of a (medication abortion supportive) general practitioner' model. CONCLUSION:Nurse-led medication abortion provision is a recognized strategy to improve access to equitable, affordable and safe abortion services for women residing in underserved areas. The constructed models and recommendations for practice and policy can serve as a guide to expand the role of primary health care nurses in the provision of medication abortion in Victoria and beyond. IMPLICATIONS:The findings of this study indicate that a nurse-led model of medication abortion provision is feasible in service poor areas of Victoria and that model implementation has the potential to improve abortion access. The models are adaptable for use in other settings.

publication date

  • 2019