Survey: Only 9% of EDs run efficiently, say nurses

Julia Lyall

Julia Lyall , RN

Patient Experience & Cultural Integration

Published September 16, 2019

People sitting in a crowded emergency room waiting area

In a 2018 survey of 654 emergency nurses, 91% reported significant efficiency challenges in their emergency departments (EDs) that affected patient satisfaction. What's more, 67% reported that behavioral health challenges contributed to inefficiency — up from just 41% in 2017.

Vituity surveys nurses on the state of emergency care each year at the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) annual conference. The survey explores staffing, operations, relations with medical staff, and other issues impacting nursing practice and job satisfaction.

Nurse's observations about behavioral health in the ED echo national trends. One in eight ED visits today involves a mental health or substance abuse complaint, and that number continues to rise. This underscores the need for both provider education and for new care delivery models that better meet the needs of this vulnerable population.

Many nurses also reported that throughput, wait times, and crowding impacted efficiency and patient satisfaction at their EDs.

Other interesting insights from the 2018 survey include:

  • Only 30% of nurses rated their administrators as satisfied with the patient experience provided in the ED.
  • 57% of nurses reported that their medical and nursing directors work together closely. However, 7% felt that these leaders did NOT work together.
  • On the bright side, 73% of nurses reported that their physician teams were fully staffed and rarely used locums.

You can view the full results in the infographic below.

The 2018 survey results suggest that while patient satisfaction scores have risen nationwide, many EDs still face challenges in the area of patient experience. As hospitals and health systems continue to consolidate, the ability to scale and create efficiencies across sites while improving care delivery is increasingly important.

What's more, emerging challenges like behavioral health demand new approaches to care. Solutions that integrate acute care teams with specialist providers, such as medication-assisted treatment and Vituity's Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI) program, help providers care for behavioral health patients efficiently, effectively, and with compassion.

As we look forward to Emergency Nursing 19 in Austin, Texas, we are excited to connect with emergency nurses. Nurses spend more time face-to-face with our emergency patients than anyone, and we value their insights on how to improve care.

If you'll be at the conference, please stop by the Vituity booth to speak with our experts about your ED’s challenges and to share what your hospital is doing by completing our 2019 survey.

2018 ENA survey results infographic

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