Evaluating patient presentations for care delivered by emergency nurse practitioners: a retrospective analysis of 12 months

Natasha Jennings, Emma McKeown, Gerard O'Reilly, Glenn Gardner
Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal: AENJ 2013, 16 (3): 89-95

BACKGROUND: The delivery of quality patients care in the emergency department (ED) is emerging as one of the most important service indicators to be measured in health services today. The emergency nurse practitioner role was implemented as a service innovation in one Melbourne, ED, Australia, in July 2004. The primary aim of the role was intended to enhance healthcare services, improve the efficiency and timely delivery of high quality care to patients.

AIM: To conduct a retrospective study of patient presentations at the ED to obtain a profile of the characteristics of patients managed by emergency nurse practitioners. Specifically the objectives of the study were to: (1) examine the demographics of the patient population and (2) evaluate data on emergency department service indicators for this patient cohort.

METHOD: A descriptive exploratory design was used. All patients presenting to the ED from January 01, 2011 to December 31, 2011 and managed by emergency nurse practitioners were included in the review. Data collection included baseline demographics, waiting times to be seen, length of stay, ED discharge diagnoses and referral patterns. Data were extracted and imported directly from the ED patient information system (Cerner log), for the specified time frame.

RESULTS: A total of 5212 patients were reviewed in the study period. The median age of patients was 35 years and 61% of patients were male. The most common discharge diagnosis was open wounds to hand/wrist. Waiting times to be seen by the emergency nurse practitioner were 14 min and length of stay for patients with a discharge disposition of home were 122 min.

CONCLUSIONS: This study has provided information on patient baseline characteristics and performance on important service indicators for this patient sample that will inform further research to evaluate specific outcomes of the emergency nurse practitioner service.

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