Effect of interprofessional student-led beds on emergency department performance indicators

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The study aims to compare ED performance indicators between patients managed by students in an inter-professional learning (IPL) programme and comparable patients receiving usual ED care.


An IPL programme ran for five separate 2 week periods during 2012. Four student-led beds were managed by four final year students (two medical, two nursing). Four control beds were matched for patient acuity. Data were gathered electronically from the ED information system. Comparisons of baseline characteristics and a range of ED performance indicators were made between patients managed in the student-led and control beds. Patient satisfaction with student care was surveyed.


Characteristics of the 369 study and 365 control patients were similar. Median times to being seen by a nurse and a doctor were not significantly different between student-led and control beds, at 50 (19–103) versus 45 (20–93) min, and 84 (28–162) versus 91 (41–165) min, respectively. Median time to inpatient referral for admitted patients was significantly longer in student-led compared with control beds, being 142 (65–249) versus 101.5 (48–200) min, respectively. Median lengths of stay were similar between the student-led and control groups, being 263 (201–343) versus 303.5 (204–384) min for discharged patients, and 866 (571–1238) versus 745.5 (487–1168) min for inpatient ward admissions. Patients reported high levels of satisfaction with student care.


There was little difference in performance indicators between patients managed by student teams as part of an IPL programme and a similar group receiving usual ED care.

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