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The Trauma Nurse Coordinator in Australia and New Zealand: A Progress Survey of Demographics, Role Function, and Resources

Curtis, Kate BN, RN, Grad Dip Crit Care, Ms Nurs, PhD; Donoghue, Judith BA, RN, DNE, PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.JTN.0000327324.37534.02

An initial profile of the demographics and current practice of Australian trauma nurse coordinators (TNCs) was conducted in 2003. The study identified common and differing role components, provided information to assist with establishing national parameters for the role, and identified the resources perceived necessary to enable the role to be performed effectively. This article compares the findings of the 2003 study with a 2007 survey, expanded to include New Zealand trauma coordinators. Forty-nine people, identified as working in a TNC capacity in Australia and New Zealand, were invited to participate in February 2007. The survey consisted of a 3-part questionnaire of respondents' demographics, the percentage of time allocated to 10 defined role functions (components), and the TNCs' perceived required resources to fulfill their role effectively. Feedback from the 2003 survey was incorporated in the redesign. Participation in the research enabled an update of the previously compiled Australia/New Zealand trauma network list. Thirty-six surveys (71.5% response rate) were returned. Descriptive statistics were undertaken for each item, and comparisons were made among states, territories, and countries. The mean age of respondents was 41 ± 7.7, range 27 to 57, and 92% were female. They averaged 11.1 years of postregistration critical care or trauma experience, and 50% (n = 18) reported working unpaid overtime (decreased from 56% (n = 19) since 2003). Participants reported that most of their time was spent fulfilling the trauma registry component of the role (27% of total hours), followed by quality and clinical activities (19% of total hours), education, and administration. The component associated with the least amount of time was outreach (3% of total hours). Although the proportion of time has almost halved since 2003, TNCs still spend the most time maintaining trauma registries. Compared to the 2003 survey, Australian and New Zealand TNCs are working more unpaid overtime, spending more time performing quality and clinical activities and less time doing data entry. Despite where one works, the role components identified are fulfilled to a certain extent. However, trauma centers need to provide the TNC with adequate resources if trauma care systems are to be optimally effective.

Kate Curtis, BN, RN, Grad Dip Crit Care, Ms Nurs, PhD, St George Hospital, Gray St, Kogarah, New South Wales, and Judith Donoghue, BA, RN, DNE, PhD, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health University of Technology, Sydney, Australia.

Corresponding Author: Kate Curtis, BN, RN, Grad Dip Crit Care, Ms Nurs, PhD, St George Hospital, Gray St, Kogarah, New South Wales 2217, Australia (

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.