Nurse-initiated medications in the emergency department
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What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare services and resources. Existing research on expanding healthcare professionals’ roles, such as prescribing by nurses, may provide useful information for policy makers. In this systematic review, the authors searched for experimental studies evaluating nurse-initiated medication interventions in emergency care settings. They did not restrict by type or language of publication and included studies published up to 2016. They included one randomized trial and four quasi-experimental studies (total: 1272 participants). There was one study from each of Australia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. The nurse-initiated medications were salbutamol for respiratory conditions and analgesia for painful conditions. What was found: Nurse-initiated medications were found to be safe, timely, effective, patient-centred and efficient in emergency care settings. Nurse-initiated medications in emergency care settings had no effects on adverse events, waiting time to see a doctor, or length of stay. The effects of nurse-initiated medications (or other non-medical prescribing) in other conditions settings are uncertain.