An emergency department-based mental health nurse practitioner outpatient service: Part 2, staff evaluation

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Abstract

The nurse practitioner role incorporates enhancing access to health-care services, particularly for populations that are underserved. This entails working collaboratively with colleagues across multidisciplinary teams and emphasizing a nursing model of practice within the nurse practitioner role. In Australia, the added value associated with establishing mental health nurse practitioner (MHNP) positions based in the emergency department (ED) is emerging. This paper presents qualitative findings from a study using a mixed-method design to evaluate an ED-based MHNP outpatient service in Sydney, Australia. One component of the evaluation involved semistructured interviews conducted with a random selection of study participants and a stratified sample of ED staff. This is the second of a two-part paper that presents an analysis of the qualitative data derived from the staff interviews (n = 20). Emergency staff were very supportive of the outpatient service, and perceived that it enhanced overall service provision and improved outcomes for patients. Moreover, staff expressed interest in receiving more formal feedback on the outcomes of the service. Staff also felt that service provision would be enhanced through additional mental health liaison nurses working in the department, especially after hours. An ED-based MHNP outpatient service expedites access to follow up to individuals with a broad range of problems, and supports ED staff in the provision of safe, effective, and more holistic care.

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