Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed specific advanced nursing education and training in the diagnosis and management of medical conditions. Nurse practitioners work independently and collaboratively with physicians to perform the assessment and management of patients including direct referral of patients to other health care professionals, prescribing medications and ordering diagnostic investigations.

A nurse practitioner is beneficial when:

  • Emergency department (ED) at capacity and overcrowding
  • Increasing waiting times in ED
  • Increasing average length of stay in ED
  • Expected benefits

    For patients:

    • Improved and more timely clinical outcomes
    • Better and more timely access to health care provision
    • For staff:

      • Clinical leadership
      • Enhanced service delivery
      • Educational resource
      • For the hospital:

        • Better patient outcomes
        • Improved departmental performance


    • Nurse practitioners must be registered by the Queensland Nursing Council as a registered nurse and must be endorsed as a nurse practitioner
    • Nurse practitioners must operate within their health management protocol and under supervision of a senior medical practitioner
    • Investigation of ED service needs and gap analysis
    • Identified consumer health service need
    • Potential roles and responsibilities
    • Development of health management protocol as related to role and scope of practice

    Key principles

    • Conducting advanced health assessment and examination
    • Requesting various diagnostic investigations
    • Interpreting results of investigations and examination/assessment
    • Prescribing medications and treatment plan
    • Admit/discharge
    • Direct referral of patients to other health care professionals.


    • To enhance the care of patients
    • To provide clinical leadership
    • To improve department performance

    Performance indicators

    • Decreased percentage of 'did not waits'
    • Decreased average ED length of stay
    • Improved patient and staff satisfaction