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Aim To utilise multidisciplinary staff feedback to assess their perceptions of a novel emergency department nurse navigator role and to understand the impact of the role on the department. Background Prolonged emergency department stays impact patients, staff and quality of care, and are linked to increased morbidity and mortality. One innovative strategy to facilitate patient flow is the navigator: a nurse supporting staff in care delivery to enhance efficient, timely movement of patients through the department. However, there is a lack of rigorous research into this emerging role. Design Sequential exploratory mixed methods. Methods A supernumerary emergency department nurse navigator was implemented week-off-week-on, seven days a week for 20 weeks. Diaries, focus groups, and an online survey (24-item Navigator Role Evaluation tool) were used to collect and synthesise data from the perspectives of multidisciplinary departmental staff. Results Thematic content analysis of cumulative qualitative data drawn from the navigators’ diaries, focus groups and survey revealed iterative processes of the navigators growing into the role and staff incorporating the role into departmental flow, manifested as: Reception of the role and relationships with staff; Defining the role; and Assimilation of the role. Statistical analysis of survey data revealed overall staff satisfaction with the role. Physicians, nurses and others assessed it similarly. However, only 44% felt the role was an overall success, less than half (44%) considered it necessary, and just over a third (38%) thought it positively impacted inter-professional relationships. Investigation of individual items revealed several areas of uncertainty about the role. Within-group differences between nursing grades were noted, junior nurses rating the role significantly higher than more senior nurses. Conclusion Staff input yielded invaluable insider feedback for ensuing modification and optimal instigation of the navigator role, rendering a sense of departmental ownership. However, results indicate further work is needed to clarify and operationalise it.


School of Nursing, Midwifery & Paramedicine

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License