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An evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of nurse practitioners in an adult emergency department

Authors

  • Anne Wilson PhD MN BN RN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Nursing, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
      Anne Wilson, Discipline of Nursing, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, Level 3, Eleanor Harold Building, The University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Email: anne.wilson@adelaide.edu.au
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  • Fathimath Shifaza MNSC BN RN

    1. Research Assistant, Discipline of Nursing, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Anne Wilson, Discipline of Nursing, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, Level 3, Eleanor Harold Building, The University of Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia. Email: anne.wilson@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of nurse practitioner services for minor injuries in an adult emergency department and to ascertain consumers' satisfaction with the care received. Nurse practitioner roles in Australia have been progressively developing since a pilot project in 1990 examined their feasibility. Currently, nurse practitioners in Australia practise in a variety of specialist areas including coronary care cardiology, adult and paediatric palliative care, emergency, diabetics, aged care and perinatal care. The reported study used a retrospective design that conducted case-note audits and explored patient satisfaction with after-care questionnaires. One hundred case notes of patients treated by the nurse practitioner were audited and 57 patients completed questionnaires exploring their satisfaction and perception of the care received. Analysis of the case-note data indicated that the majority of presenting complaints were minor injuries. Of these injuries, 96.3% of presentations triaged level 4 and 94.4% of those triaged level 5 were seen within the time frame recommended by the Australasian Triage Scale. Forty-six per cent of patients required X-rays and 2% required pathology tests during their emergency department stay. The majority of patients were satisfied with the treatment received from the nurse practitioner. Patients are satisfied with management of small injury presentations by nurse practitioners in the emergency department. Incidentally, it was noted that the flow of patients through the department was improved, resulting in medical resources concentrated to higher priority presentations.

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