Thursday, January 11, 2007

Using Nurse Practitioners in Emergency Rooms

The following story illustrates one of the important uses of nurse practitioners in the hospital setting. Our hospital has utilized nurse practitioners in our emergency room in the Fast Track setting. I have done clinicals in this area and have really learned a lot.

Three months after introducing a nurse practitioner at James Paton Memorial Hospital’s emergency department, staff at the hospital are saying the role has reduced the often overbearing workload of emergency room physicians.

That’s according to Stephanie Winsor, nurse manager of the intensive care unit and the emergency department.

Ms. Winsor told The Beacon a shortage of family physicians in this region resulted in more people relying on emergency room visits for non-emergency type medical attention. That, in turn, created an overwhelming amount of work for emergency room physicians at the hospital.

As an example, Ms. Winsor said in one 24-hour period in late December, the department treated 85 patients.

“That is just so enormous for one physician to handle,” she said. “… Our ER is just being so overburdened because of the GP shortage that we had to come up with an innovative way to help address not only the ER physicians’ burnout from seeing the demand of that many patients, but also to ensure health care to those people out there without a GP.”

Thus, a nurse practitioner was brought onboard in the fall to help ease that burden.

Click here for the rest of the story....

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