Nurse-initiated medications in the emergency department

Added May 13, 2020

Citation: Cabilan CJ, Boyde M. A systematic review of the impact of nurse-initiated medications in the emergency department. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal 2017; 20: 53‐62

Free to view: No

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.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.