"Never a dull moment in the emergency department"

Posted on Wed, 09/03/2022 by Chris Drew Emergency Nurse Practitioner, A&E

Chris Drew

A nurse slides a heart tracing under your nose and rattles off a few words about the new patient who has just arrived in the cubicle.

Another nurse asks you about some blood tests for another patient that is in another cubicle. The department co-ordinator is also asking about my plan for a patient who has been in the department undergoing a raft of investigations. In the meantime, I’m assessing a poorly patient who has been brought into the department by the ambulance service.

I pause for a moment. Amongst the hustle and bustle of the nursing pod, you recognise that you’re a key component in the  department. Nurses, patients, and their families are relying on me to make the right assessment and decisions. What do I need to do to work out why someone is unwell and needing our help right now?

How can I help support the nurses in caring for the patients currently in the department? Every day is a new challenge, and this has obviously been exacerbated by the COVID-19 restrictions.

I trained as a nurse, and over time, I’ve acquired clinical skills and knowledge. Working in a walk-in centre, I developed my assessment, management, and autonomous skills. Now, I’m part of the nurse practitioner team within the Emergency Department. I’ve been here for over six years. Over that time, not only has the role grown, but so has the expectation of the nurse practitioner. We see all the various presentations to the department and support the junior doctors during their rotation in the department. 

The role of the nurse has progressed over the years. We’ve nurse specialists in lots of different roles within the trust. We’re continuing to push the boundaries further, as we introduce the role of Advanced Clinical Practitioner to the trust. We’ve several senior nurses and other multi-disciplinary colleagues currently studying to become Advanced Clinical Practitioners within the trust. Each practitioner will complete clinical assessment and higher-level university studies before they qualify. These autonomous practitioners will be more and more visible in delivering patient care, whether it be on the wards, outpatients, or like myself, in the Emergency Department.

In the meantime, the nurse practitioners within the Emergency Department will continue to assess and treat the patients who present to the department. We’ll support the junior doctors who rotate through the department. We’ll continue to work alongside the amazing nurses and health care workers in the department. We’ll be a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, and a reassuring presence to patients, relatives, and staff alike in the department.

Now; I’ve got a heart tracing to assess, blood results to interpret, patient management plan to complete, another patient to review, and a nurse with whom I’m offering mentorship too.

It’s never a dull moment being a nurse practitioner in the Emergency Department.


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