Nurse Practitioners (NP) are registered nurses with an advanced scope of practice and are now part of the emergency care team at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Emergency Department .
Nurse Practitioners (NP) are educated and authorised to function autonomously and collaboratively in an advanced and extended clinical role.
The role includes assessment and management of clients using nursing knowledge and skills and may include but is not limited to the direct referral of patients to other health care professionals, prescribing medications, and ordering diagnostic investigations. The role is grounded in the nursing profession's values, knowledge, theories and practise.
The title "nurse practitioner" is protected, preventing the use of the title by anyone who is not endorsed by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) as a Nurse Practitioner (Department of Health and Human Services Victoria [DHHS], 2019).
The emergency nurse practitioners scope of practice at RMH ED is currently developed to meet the needs of patients presenting to the ambulatory care setting. Within Victorian EDs, the mainstay of NP practice is minor injury / minor illness treating patients deemed likely to be seen, treated and discharged within a 4 hour time frame.
This NP model of care in Emergency Departments has been shown to:
- reduce waiting times and delays to treatment
- reduce ED length of stay
- increase discharge stream NEAT performance
- increase patient safety
- reduce the number of patients who did not wait for treatment
- increase patient and staff satisfaction
- provide a cost effective and sustainable workforce