More triage nurses on duty in emergency department
Feb 28, 2013
More triage nurses are now on duty in the emergency department at Joondalup Health Campus during busy periods.
Director of Emergency Medicine Dr Cameron Burrows said the additional nurses – up to three in busy periods - will help to minimise queuing in the emergency department waiting room.
"Joondalup Health Campus is home to one of the busiest emergency departments in Australia," said Dr Burrows. "We treated a record 88,032 patients in 2012 and are expecting to treat over 90,000 in 2013.
"In the face of such large numbers, we continually review our processes to ensure we are working as efficiently as possible and are listening to feedback from patients and visitors. Appointing additional nurses to triage patients is part of this process."
In common with emergency departments across Australia, all emergency patients – with the exception of those with life threatening conditions - register with a receptionist on arrival before then being assessed or triaged by a senior nurse.
"It is vitally important that doctors see the sickest patients first as they are most in need of our assistance," said Dr Burrows. "The senior nurses are highly experienced and can quickly assess patients to determine how quickly they need to be seen.
"During busy periods, patients may be required to stand in line for a few minutes to be reviewed. If patients are feeling too unwell to stand in line they should advise the receptionist so alternative arrangements can be made. We also encourage patients to bring a friend or family member. They shouldn't drive themselves to hospital if they are feeling very ill."
The process for registering and triaging patients is regularly reviewed by senior members of the emergency department clinical management team to ensure it is as effective as possible.
"We are currently trialing having a nurse in the waiting room to not only greet patients but to also start early treatment such as rehydration or pain relief," said Dr Burrows.
"We have previously considered installing a ticketing system. However, we have not yet found a system that meets the wishes of some patients and our need to prioritise patients."