• audit;
  • fractured neck of femur;
  • multidisciplinary;
  • nursing protocols;
  • nursing care;
  • patients

In this article the authors discuss the development, use and auditing of nursing care protocols, which have been implemented and form a guide for nurses caring for patients with fractured neck of femur in Southend Health Care NHS Trust. The development of these protocols occurred after an initial medical audit, which was followed by a far larger multidisciplinary audit, and both of these revealed there was need for changes in the clinical management of such patients; subsequently a large multi disciplinary working group worked together to develop care protocols/pathways to enable closure of the audit loop. The reasons for focusing on fractured neck of femur as a high priority condition are also discussed. All professional groups caring for these patients were involved in the multi disciplinary working group, which was formed to close the audit loop and to improve clinical practices by increasing the systemization and coordination of care. The development of the nursing protocols represented an extremely important part of this process, and the care of about 700 patients was examined during this work. The audit and associated subsequent work have resulted in direct improvements to both patient care and health outcomes, and the authors conclude that there is great value in developing multi disciplinary protocols, particularly those involving nurses, because they spend more time with patients whilst they are in hospital than any other professional group. The benefits of these nursing protocols have been multifold, in particular they have facilitated a clearer flow of patients through the hospital, increased awareness of responsibilities and reduced duplication of effort, and ensured patients receive the best possible care over the 24-hour period.