Emergency department waiting room nurse role: A key informant perspective

Kelli Innes, Debra Jackson, Virginia Plummer, Doug Elliott

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Emergency departments have become overcrowded with increased waiting times. Strategies to decrease waiting times include time-based key performance indicators and introduction of a waiting room nurse role. The aim of the waiting room nurse role is to expedite care by assessing and managing patients in the waiting room. There is limited literature examining this role.
This paper presents results of semi-structured interviews with five key informants to explore why and how the waiting room nurse role was implemented in Australian emergency departments. Data were thematically analysed.
Five key informants from five emergency departments across two Australian jurisdictions (Victoria and New South Wales) reported that the role was introduced to reduce waiting times and improve quality and safety of care in the ED waiting room. Critical to introducing the role was defining and supporting the scope of practice, experience and preparation of the nurses. Role implementation required champions to overcome identified challenges, including funding. There has been limited evaluation of the role.
The waiting room nurse role was introduced to decrease waiting times and contributed to risk mitigation. Common to all roles was standing orders, while preparation and experience varied. Further research into the role is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-11
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Emergency Nursing Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • emergency departments;
  • key informants;
  • waiting room
  • interview
  • emergency nursing
  • patient safety

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