BACKGROUND: Emergency nurses have a key role in managing the large numbers of patients that attend Australian emergency departments (EDs) annually, and require adequate educational preparation to deliver safe and quality patient care. This paper provides a detailed profile of nursing resources in Australian EDs, including ED locations, annual patient attendances, nurse staffing including level of education, and educational resources. METHODS: Data were collected via online surveys of emergency Nurse Unit Managers and Nurse Educators and the MyHospitals website. Data were analysed by hospital peer group and state or territory. Comparisons were made using the Kruskal-Wallis Test and Spearman Rank Order Correlation. RESULTS: In 2011-2012, there were a median of 36,274 patient attendances to each of the 118 EDs sampled (IQR 28,279-46,288). Most of the nurses working in EDs were Registered Nurses (95.2%). Organisations provided educational resources including Clinical Nurse Educators (80.6%), learning packages (86%) and facilitation of postgraduate study (98%), but resources, both human and educational varied substantially between states and territories. One-third of emergency nurses held a relevant postgraduate qualification (30%). CONCLUSION: There are important variations in the emergency nursing resources available between Australian states and territories. The high percentage of RNs in Australian EDs is a positive finding, however strategies to increase the percentage of nurses with relevant postgraduate qualifications are required.
Field of Research
111003 Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care) 1110 Nursing 1117 Public Health And Health Services 111003 Clinical Nursing: Secondary (Acute Care)
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