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SANP is a non-profit, volunteer-run, professional organization that supports and advances the professional interests of its membership — NPs, NP students, and nurses who have an interest in the NP practice.

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Can NPs Help Reduce Emergency Department Wait Times?

Emergency wait times have long been a concern and NPs may be able to assist in reducing these times.  Four members of SANP met with Graham Fast from the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council on January 17th.  Mr. Fast is the lead on the ED Waits and Patient Flow Team from the Provincial Kaizen Operational Team.  Lia Boxall (President SANP), Maureen Klenk (President CAAPN and SANP member), Barb Warkentin (Past President SANP), and Leland Sommer (President Elect SANP) met with Mr. Fast to look at ways NPs may be able to help. 

The Provincial Kaizen Operational Team has met with experts, collected data, identified effective models and consulted stakeholders. Mr. Fast highlighted several key issues: inpatient backlog, lack of long-term care vacancies, ED inefficiencies, and shared that 80% of ED visits are CTAS #4 and #5. Subsequent discussion revolved around how NPs could be utilized to effect positive change in the system to reduce ED waits and improve patient flows.  Topics discussed included strengthening PHC by adding NPs and mental health professionals and adding varied access for PHC, strengthening home care and long-term care by adding NPs, as well as possible roles for NPs in both acute care and ED.

SANP had the opportunity to review the background of our group and the role of various NPs in Saskatchewan as well as options for our expanding service.  SANP believes that addressing current volume issues within emergency departments throughout the province involves a two-pronged approach: decreasing flow in and improving flow out. SANP will be providing the committee with information regarding resources and literature about NPs in health care and current barriers to NP practice in Saskatchewan.

In a follow-up letter, Mr. Fast commented that the NP profession will be an important part of the solutions to improving patient flow and eliminating wait times in our ED by March 2017, and that the committee looks forward to partnering with SANP to achieve the goals of this Kaizen. Maureen Klenk and Leland Sommer will represent the Canadian Association of Advance Practice Nursing and SANP respectively on the Provincial Stakeholder Advisory Group (PSAG); focus is in the areas of acute care flow and transition and community-based services. 

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