An exploration of staff knowledge on the nurse practitioner's role in the emergency department

Geraldine Lee, Natasha Jennings, Michael Bailey
Accident and Emergency Nursing 2007, 15 (2): 79-87

BACKGROUND: The role of the Nurse Practitioner (NP) was introduced to the Emergency Department (ED) at a metropolitan hospital in Melbourne, Australia in July 2004.

AIMS: The aims of the study were to explore staff knowledge of the NP role.

METHODS: A survey was used to elicit the information from the ED staff. The survey used was a five point Likert scale from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree". Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were used for data analysis.

FINDINGS: A total of 76 medical and nursing staff completed the survey. The role of the NP was favourably reported by staff with 90% agreeing to statements about the role. Knowledge gaps were found in one third of respondents in relation to the scope of practice and clinical practice guidelines and over 40% (n=31) did not understand the procedural requirements for NP endorsement. What is unclear is whether the lack of staff knowledge affected patient care or implementation of the NP role.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated a good level of staff knowledge with the NPs in the ED. Further staff education is needed regarding some aspects of the NP role.


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