Examining the clinical management of asthma exacerbations by nurse practitioners in a pediatric emergency department
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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the clinical management or quality of asthma care provided by nurse practitioners (NP) in a pediatric emergency setting. OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical management of asthma by NPs in our institution's emergency department, and to compare the treatment strategies between NPs, pediatricians, and pediatric emergency physicians. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review at a level-one pediatric trauma center. Data were extracted from electronic medical records for all patients between 2 and 18 years of age presenting to the emergency department with an asthma exacerbation. Data were analyzed using binary logistic regression with generalized estimating equations. RESULTS: NPs evaluated 18% of all children presenting for asthma care. When compared to pediatric emergency physicians, patients treated by NPs had approximately twice the odds of receiving a β2-agonist (OR = 2.02; 95% CI 1.02 - 3.99) or a systemic corticosteroid (OR = 2.31; 95% CI 1.35 - 3.95) within 60 minutes of clinical evaluation. Adherence rates were similar for the other asthma quality measures between these two clinician groups. CONCLUSIONS: NPs were best able to meet time-sensitive asthma quality measures in the emergency department. The addition of NPs to emergency staffing models may improve access to timely care for children with asthma.
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