Aim To evaluate emergency nurse practitioner service effectiveness on outcomes related to quality of care and service responsiveness. Background Increasing service pressures in the emergency setting have resulted in the adoption of service innovation models; the most common and rapidly expanding of these is the emergency nurse practitioner. The delivery of high quality patient care in the emergency department is one of the most important service indicators to be measured in health services today. The rapid uptake of emergency nurse practitioner service in Australia has outpaced the capacity to evaluate this model in outcomes related to safety and quality of patient care. Design Pragmatic randomized controlled trial at one site with 260 participants. Methods This protocol describes a definitive prospective randomized controlled trial, which will examine the impact of emergency nurse practitioner service on key patient care and service indicators. The study control will be standard emergency department care. The intervention will be emergency nurse practitioner service. The primary outcome measure is pain score reduction and time to analgesia. Secondary outcome measures are waiting time, number of patients who did not wait, length of stay in the emergency department and representations within 48 hours. Discussion Scant research enquiry evaluating emergency nurse practitioner service on patient effectiveness and service responsiveness exists currently. This study is a unique trial that will test the effectiveness of the emergency nurse practitioner service on patients who present to the emergency department with pain. The research will provide an opportunity to further evaluate emergency nurse practitioner models of care and build research capacity into the workforce.
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