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Does a limited nurse triage service reduce junior doctor psychiatric on-call workload?

  • A. P. Moore (a1) and S. Willmott (a2)
Abstract
Aims and Method

To investigate whether nurse triage might reduce junior doctors' on-call workloads in a general adult psychiatry in-patient unit, we measured changes in workload after the introduction of a limited (overnight and weekend mornings) nurse triage service on the unit, comparing pre-triage work levels with levels 1 year later. This time frame allowed the new service to settle in, and controlled for seasonal variations in workload.

Results

The number of ‘work episodes' went up, especially during the night shifts, but the average length of each episode went down (both statistically significant, P < 0.001). The net result was a slight increase in workload in terms of total time spent dealing with episodes, most notably at night.

Clinical Implications

A limited overnight nurse triage service was ineffective on its own as a means of reducing the out-of-hours workload of junior doctors, and even slightly increased it. A more comprehensive triage service, with a greater range of alternatives to admission, might have had a different result.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Cass, H. D., Smith, I., Unthank, C., et al (2003) Improving compliance with requirements on junior doctors' hours. BMJ, 327, 270273.
Council Directive (1993) Council Directive 93/104/EC. Official Journal of the European Community, L307, 1824.
Department of Health (2000) A General Guide to the New Pay System. London: Department of Health. Judgement of 3 October 2000: Case C-303/98 Sindicato de Medicos de Asistencia Publica (SIMAP) v. Conselleria de Sanidad. European Court Reports, 2000, 1-7963.
National Health Service Management Executive (1991) Junior Doctors: The New Deal. London: Department of Health.
SPSS (1999) SPSS Software: Release 9.0. Chicago, IL: SPSS Inc.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Does a limited nurse triage service reduce junior doctor psychiatric on-call workload?

  • A. P. Moore (a1) and S. Willmott (a2)
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