Specialist nurses cut ED wait times
25 October 2019
Highly skilled senior nurses are part of the team helping move patients through Rockhampton Hospital Emergency Department quickly and efficiently.
Three fully qualified nurse practitioners and two trainees work across seven days in the fast track area of the ED.
James Gibbs loves his job, caring for all types of patients including people with eye emergencies, musculoskeletal injuries, abdominal pain, coughs and colds and lacerations.
Nurse Practitioners can do tasks previously reserved for doctors, such as ordering x-rays and blood tests and referring patients to specialists and GPs.
“The good thing about our job is we’re advancing our career while maintaining a mostly clinical focus,” James said. “Most of our work is hands-on, seeing patients, which is a different career path for senior nurses rather than moving into education or management.
“We get to reduce fractures, drain abscesses and suture lacerations, which are all tasks we wouldn’t have been able to do in the past. It’s really satisfying, and the vast majority of patients are lovely people and happy with the care they get.
“It’s a tremendous sense of job satisfaction when you are able to help people.”
James is also part of the Working Together To Connect Care Program which has recently rolled out in Rockhampton, where nurse practitioners, doctors and nurse navigators meet weekly to discuss patients who frequently go to the ED.
The team develops an acute management plan, designed to streamline the patient’s time in ED by reducing duplication of regular tests and investigations. The aim is to improve communication across the different specialists and GPs and get the full picture of the patient.
In September there were 4380 presentations to Rockhampton ED, with a median waiting time to treatment of 15 minutes across all five categories.
Of those patients, 32 were triaged as category 1 (sickest or most seriously injured), and all of those were treated immediately.
CQ Health EDs reported 11,502 presentations in September, with a median wait time to treatment of 12 minutes.
CQ Health treated 488 elective surgery patients in September; the vast majority (99.8%) of those were treated within the clinically recommended timeframe.
Nurse Practitioner James Gibbs