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Does Emergency Department Observation Impact the Rate of Computed Tomography in Children With Minor Blunt Head Trauma?

Blackburn, Kari J. DNP, RN, CPEN; Howard, Patricia Kunz PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN

Section Editor(s): Howard, Patricia Kunz PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN; Column Editors; Shapiro, Susan E. PhD, RN, FAAN; Column Editors

doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000041

Review of recent evidence with translation to practice for the advanced practice nurse (APN) role is presented using a case study module for “The Effect of the Duration of Emergency Department Observation on Computed Tomography Use in Children With Minor Blunt Head Trauma.” The study results showed that 49% of the patients were “observed” in the emergency department (ED). Of those “observed” (N = 676) in the ED, the authors found that 20% had a computed tomographic (CT) scan performed. However, “observed” patients did experience a lower rate of CT scan (5%) than “nonobserved” patients. The implications and clinical relevance of these findings for APNs are discussed, highlighting best practice evidence.

Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center, University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, Lexington.

Corresponding Author: Patricia Kunz Howard, PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN, Emergency Services, University of Kentucky Healthcare, 1000 S. Limestone St, A.00.401, Lexington, KY 40536 (

Disclosure: The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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