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Keywords:

  • emergency department;
  • emergency nursing;
  • health-care access;
  • health services research

Considine J, Lucas E, Martin R, Stergiou HE, Kropman M, Chiu H. International Journal of Nursing Practice 2012; 18: 60–67

Rapid intervention and treatment zone: Redesigning nursing services to meet increasing emergency department demand

The impact of emergency nursing roles in demand management systems is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate emergency nurses' role in a specific emergency department (ED) demand management system: rapid intervention and treatment zone (RITZ). A descriptive exploratory approach was used. Data were collected from audit of 193 randomly selected patient records and 12 h of clinical practice observation. The median age of participants was 31 years, 51.8% were males and 99.5% were discharged home. Nurse qualifications or seniority had no significant effect on waiting time or length of stay (LOS). There were disparities between documented and observed nursing practice. Thedesignation and qualifications of RITZ nurses made little difference to waiting times and ED LOS. Specific documentation and communication systems for areas of the ED that manage large numbers of low complexity patients warrant further research.