Nurse-led project to roll out new framework for assessing and managing emergency patients

Professor Kate Curtis, Principal Research Fellow, Sydney Nursing School. Photo supplied: The University of Sydney

A new framework for systematically assessing and managing emergency patients will be rolled out in 31 hospitals across three states and taught to emergency nurses in a bid to improve patient care and outcomes.

The University of Sydney’s Professor Kate Curtis, Principal Research Fellow, Sydney Nursing School, was awarded $1.49 million in funding for a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Partnership Project to improve outcomes for the eight million patients that visit Australia’s 287 emergency departments each year.

Professor Curtis, a Wollongong Hospital ED nurse, and her team of leading clinician, nurse and health economic researchers will implement the framework across 31 hospitals in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

The structured framework is geared towards educating new and early career nurses.

“Patient assessment and management by Australia’s 29,000 emergency nurses is hospital-dependent and inconsistent, resulting in avoidable patient deterioration, poor pain management, poor nursing documentation and patient dissatisfaction with emergency care,” Professor Curtis, an internationally renowned emergency and trauma nurse clinical researcher, said.

Professor Curtis said a new system, which includes taking the patient’s history, looking for common red flags, intervening early when necessary and constantly assessing the patient, had already been piloted across rural and regional emergency departments in New South Wales, with positive outcomes.

“We look forward to rolling this out across many more hospitals in Australia and improving patient outcomes,” she said.

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