Trauma Nurse Specialists' Performance of Advanced Skills Positively Impacts Surgical Residency Time Constraints

Kendrick, Aaron S.; Ciraulo, David L.; Radeker, Theresa S.; Lewis, Patricia L.; Richart, Charles M.; Maxwell, Robert A.; Barker, Donald E.; Smith, Philip W.
March 2006
American Surgeon;Mar2006, Vol. 72 Issue 3, p224
Academic Journal
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education imposed 80-hour work week constraints on residency programs in July 2003. Certain programs were granted an additional 10 per cent for specific educational purposes, bringing restrictions to 88 hours per week. The increased demand for residents to leave the hospital has placed teaching institutions in exhaustive situations to provide comprehensive patient care. In response to the work hour constraints among residents and emergency room staff, a unique group of registered nurses, trauma nurse specialists (TNSs), were credentialed with advanced practice skill sets. Governed by practice guidelines and overseen by a medical director, TNSs perform invasive procedures that are normally the responsibility of the surgical resident. The purpose of this study was to evaluate work hours saved for surgery residents using credentialed nurses (TNSs). Procedure logs were maintained by the TNSs over a 6-month period, and surgical house staff (postgraduate year 1-3) over a 4-month period. A total of 423 procedures were recorded, reflecting time taken for attempted/completed procedures and complications. Resident procedures numbered 98; TNS procedures numbered 325. TNSs spent an average of 42 hours per month (10.6 hours per week) completing advanced procedures with no statistical difference in time or complications compared with surgical residents. By using the TNSs, work hours for surgery residents were saved while maintaining a safe and reliable work atmosphere for patients.


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