Improved quality of care and reduction of housestaff workload using trauma nurse practitioners

J Trauma. 1990 Jun;30(6):660-3; discussion 663-5. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199006000-00001.


The University of California, Davis, Medical Center introduced the use of nurse practitioners (NPs) to the trauma service in fiscal year 1986-87 to alleviate the increasing burdens placed on the surgical housestaff in their attempt to accommodate the rising patient volume and acuity. The use of NPs was associated with a decrease in average length of stay for the seriously injured patients from 8.10 to 7.05 days while the length of stay for other patients in the hospital remained unchanged. Documentation of quality of care in the medical record increased substantially. For example, discharge summaries that were dictated by the NPs were judged complete in all aspects in at least 95% of sampled records compared with approximately 75% of records that were dictated by the residents. With introduction of the NPs, outpatient clinic waiting times decreased from 41 to 19 minutes. Patient complaints regarding the trauma team decreased from 16 to seven/year. Time saved for the housestaff averaged 352 minutes/day while the NPs were on duty. The NPs were well received by the hospital nurses, hospital quality assurance personnel, and ancillary services. They have proved to be of great value to the patients, the patients' families, the hospital, and the trauma team.

MeSH terms

  • California
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Length of Stay
  • Nurse Practitioners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Centers* / economics
  • Workforce