Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Mapping workforce configuration and operational models in Australian Emergency Departments: A national survey

Glenn Gardner , Anne Gardner , Sandy Middleton , Julie Considine , Gerard Fitzgerald , Luke Christofis , Anna Doubrovsky , Margaret Adams , Jane O'Connell


Background Hospital emergency departments (ED) in Australia and internationally have been experiencing increased demand, resulting in reduced hospital quality, impaired access and adverse health outcomes. Effective evaluation of new ED service models and their impact on outcomes is reliant on baseline measures of the staffing configuration and organisational characteristics of the EDs being studied. The aim of this research was to comprehensively measure these variables in Australian EDs. Methods Australian hospital EDs with 24-hour medical and nursing cover were identified and invited to participate. Telephone interviews were conducted with nursing or medical department managers to collect data related to hospital characteristics, ED workforce and training and ED service and operational models. Results Surveys were completed in 87% of the population sample (n=135). Metropolitan EDs were significantly more likely to retain higher FTEs in a number of medical (staff specialist, registrar, resident and intern) and nursing (nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse unit manager and registered nurse) positions. Nurse practitioners were employed by 52% of Australian EDs overall however this ranged from 40-75% by jurisdiction. The most commonly used operational models were FastTrack teams (72% of EDs), short stay/observational unit (59%) and patient liaison models for aged care (84%) and mental health (61%). EDs that employed NPs were significantly more likely to use FastTrack (p=0.002). Allied health services most frequently available within these EDs were radiology (60%), social work (69%), physiotherapy (70%) and pharmacy (65%). Conclusions This study has established a baseline measure of the staffing configuration and organisational characteristics of Australian EDs.

AH16231  Accepted 14 March 2017

© CSIRO 2017