Effectiveness of nurse-initiated X-ray for emergency department patients with distal limb injuries: A systematic review

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Journal Article
European Journal of Emergency Medicine, 2019, 26 (5), pp. 314 - 322
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© 2019 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature on the effectiveness of nurse-initiated X-ray for emergency department patients with distal limb injuries. The review protocol was registered with PROSPERO and CINHAL, MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for studies comparing nurse-initiated vs physician-initiated X-ray. Because of heterogeneity of patients, providers and outcomes, a meta-analysis was not performed. The 16 included studies were conducted between 1971 and 2018 and involved 8881 participants. There were four randomised trials and 12 observational studies that focussed on X-ray request accuracy (n = 14), emergency department processes (n = 6) and patient outcomes (n = 2). The quality of evidence for each outcome ranged from very low-to-moderate. Compared with physician-initiated X-ray, nurse-initiated X-ray uses no more resources, is safe and acceptable to patients. Nurse-initiated X-ray did not reduce time to X-ray or waiting time but in some studies, reduced emergency department length of stay and unplanned follow-up.
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