The increasing number of patients who seek health care in the emergency department has placed a great strain on the resources of facilities to meet those primary health care needs. Utilization of nurse practitioners as health care providers in the emergency department has been suggested to meet the continuing influx of patients. The purpose of this study was to examine the outcomes for patient satisfaction, patient knowledge, and problem resolution. Three hypotheses were generated : (a) There is no difference in the outcome of satisfaction in nonurgent patients presenting to the emergency department when treated by a physician or a nurse practitioner, (b) There is no difference in the outcome of knowledge in nonurgent patients presenting to the emergency department when treated by a physician or a nurse practitioner, and (c) There is no difference in the outcome of problem resolution in nonurgent patients presenting to the emergency department when treated by a physician or a nurse practitioner. King's Theory of Goal Attainment provided the theoretical framework. The Aldridge Questionnaire, adapted from a tool developed by Powers, Jalowiec, and Reichelt (1981), was used to gather data iii from the sample (N = 151). No significant difference in patient satisfaction emerged; therefore. Hypothesis 1 was accepted. However, there were significant differences in patient knowledge and problem resolution, thus Hypotheses 2 and 3 were rejected. Significantly more instructions were recalled by patients treated by nurse practitioners. Also, there was a significant difference in problem resolution in patients when measured by unscheduled visits seeking additional health care. Also, within a 4-week period following discharge from the emergency department, no patients treated by nurse practitioners made additional unscheduled visits while 8 patients treated by physicians made unscheduled visits seeking additional health care. These findings support the placement of nurse practitioners in the emergency department to help alleviate the pressures brought on by increasing numbers of patients who utilize the local emergency department for primary care. A recommendation is to implement a longitudinal study which focuses on the evolution of the nurse practitioner in the emergency department.
Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Dr. Mary Patricia Curtis
Dr. Lynn Chilton
Aldridge, Mickey D., "Comparison of Outcomes in Emergency Department Treated By Nurse Practitioners Or Physicians" (1996). MSN Research Projects. 94.