Implementation and evaluation of an Ophthalmic Nurse Practitioner
Emergency Eye Clinic in Australia


Background: To describe the implementation and assess the efficacy of an Ophthalmic Nurse Practitioner (ONP) Emergency Eye Clinic.

Methods: In a 13 month period, patients were assessed in an ONP Emergency Eye Clinic in a teaching hospital setting. The ONP clinic was run on a defined scope of practice. Risk assessment was carried out in two audit sessions, 4 weeks duration each, at months 1 and 7. Patient outcomes were monitored for re-attendance to the department following discharge.

Results: A total of 259 patients were assessed, 143 (55.2%) were within the scope of practice. In the two audit periods, concordance with the ophthalmologist was high, diagnosis 100% and management 95.2%. Many patients assessed (111, 42.9% of total) had minor external eye conditions - chiefly corneal foreign body or abrasion (n=50), conjunctivitis (n=14) and minor (non-alkali) chemical injuries (n=11). No re-attendance was noted in these patients when monitored for a median of 12 months (range 7-19 months).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the safety and effectiveness of an ONP emergency eye clinic when practicing within a defined scope of practice. An ONP-led emergency eye clinic is a viable addition to acute ophthalmic eye care in Australia.

Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmolmology 2005; 33: 593-597

Bradley J Kirkwood MA,
Konrad Pesudovs PhD,
Raymond S Loh FRCOphth, and
Douglas J Coster FRANZCO

NH&MRC Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Ophthalmology Outcomes Research, Department of Ophthalmology, Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

Key Words: ophthalmic nurse practitioner, emergency service, primary nursing care, triage


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