Ongoing education is important for ensuring emergency department nurses initiate speedy patient pain relief, according to a new Australian study.
A Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) Emergency Department and University of Queensland research team conducted a study to better understand the practice of nurse-initiated medication in the emergency department.
PAH Emergency Department Director of Research, Dr Michael Sinnott said, nurse-initiated medication is an important and established practice in the emergency department.
“Giving nurses the autonomy to provide pain-relief and selected medications in the absence of a clinician enhances patient care and clinical outcomes. Reducing the time to pain relief is particularly important in the emergency department,” he said.
The Emergency Medicine Foundation (EMF) awarded Dr Sinnott a Staff Specialist grant to conduct the study. The grant was fully funded by Queensland Health.
Members of the research team – in particular PAH Emergency Department Nurse Researchers, James Hughes and C.J. Cabilan – interviewed 24 emergency department nurses to identify the factors that hinder medication knowledge; identify practice gaps; isolate flaws in the education method currently utilised and establish strategies that maintain medication safety and sustain the nurse-initiating practice.
The team found the nurses’ willingness to initiate medications was motivated by multiple factors such as patients’ needs, safety and nurses’ confidence.
Dr Sinnott said: “It appears that the nurse-initiating practice is mainly influenced by nurses’ attitudes towards patient-centred care and safety. We also identified that continued education and support were important for nurses initiating pain relief.
“Nurses confidence in initiating medication improves with exposure and experience.”