Do emergency department (ED) nurses spend too much time away from patients' bedsides searching for supplies? That is the question that a clinical trial at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, PA, aims to answer. The trial, known by its identifier NCT01586832, was registered with the federal government on July 19, 2011, and is scheduled for "primary completion" (the final data collection data for the measure of the primary outcome) in December 2013.
Lehigh Valley Health Network includes two full service hospitals, Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest and Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg (in Bethlehem). The facility on 17th Street in Allentown is an additional clinical campus of the Cedar Crest facility. The health network also includes community clinics, diagnostic laboratories, and other services. The aforementioned clinical trial is currently recruiting exclusively at the hospital on South Cedar Crest Boulevard in Salisbury Township.
According to ClinicalTrials.gov, the individual responsible for the study is Marna Rayl Greenberg, DO, who works as a physician in the ED at LVHN. "Stocking of essential supplies in an ED is crucial in order to efficiently and effectively take care of patients," the clinical trial purpose statement says. Although not much time and attention has been spent formally studying the amount of time ED nurses spend away from patients' bedsides supply-hunting, one study indicates that for the majority of nurses, it could be as much as 5% to 20% of their time. "This results in thirty minutes to two-and-a-half hours of a twelve-hour shift being lost to retrieving supplies that are not available," the statement continues. Recently, Lehigh Valley Hospital eliminated the use of in-room supply cabinets and drawers; supplies are now kept "supply towers" which are restocked periodically by "stocking technicians."
Objectives of the study include determining whether locating supply towers within patients' rooms decreases the amount of time nurses spend retrieving supplies, and determining whether implementing a full-time stocking technician reduces the amount of time nurses spend outside patients' rooms looking for supplies. Nurses involved in the study work full shifts (7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., or 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.). Nurses working in the express care area or in the trauma bay are excluded from the study. The principal investigator of the study is David Richardson, MD, who is working with Valerie Rupp, RN, BSN.