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Addition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to the Trauma Team

An Integrative Systematic Review of Literature

Crawford, Callie C., BSN, RN, TCRN

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000439

The total cost of inpatient care from a traumatic mechanism of injury in the United States between 2001 and 2011 was $240.7 billion. Medical resident work hour reductions mandated in 2011 left a shortage of available in-hospital providers to care for trauma patients. This created gaps in continuity of care, which can lead to costly increased lengths of stay (LOS) and increased medical errors. Adding advanced practice nurses (APNs) specializing in acute or trauma care to the trauma team may help fill this shortage in trauma care providers. The purpose of this integrative systematic review of the literature was to determine whether adding APNs to the admitting trauma team would decrease LOS. A systematic review of primary research in CINAHL and PubMed databases was performed using the following terms: nurse practitioner, advanced practice nurse, trauma team, and length of stay. Included studies examined the effects of adding APNs to trauma teams, were written in English, and were published in 2007–2017. Six studies were included in the final sample, and all were completed at Level I trauma centers in the United States except one from Canada. Combined sample size was 25,083 admitted trauma patients. All 6 studies reported a decrease in LOS ranging from 0.8 to 2.54 days when APNs were added to the trauma team. More research is needed to identify the best utilization of an APN on a trauma team. It is recommended that all trauma centers add APNs to the trauma team to not only decrease admitted trauma patients' LOS but also provide continuity of care, decreasing costs, and minimizing errors.

JPS Health Network, Grand Prairie, Texas.

Correspondence: Callie C. Crawford, BSN, RN, TCRN, 428 Commonwealth Dr, Saginaw, TX 76179 (

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2019 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.