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Collaborative practices in unscheduled emergency care: role and impact of the emergency care practitioner—quantitative findings


Objective: To identify collaborative instances and hindrances and to produce a model of collaborative practice.

Methods: A 12 month (2005–6) mixed methods clinical case study in a large UK ambulance trust. Collaboration was measured through direct observational ratings of communication skills, teamwork and leadership with 24 multiprofessional emergency care practitioners (ECPs); interviews with 45 ECPs and stakeholders; and an audit of 611 patients.

Results: Quantitative observational ratings indicated that the higher the leadership rating the greater the communication ability (p⩽0.001) and teamwork (p⩽0.001), and the higher grade ECPs were rated more highly on their leadership performance. From the patient audit, influences and outputs of collaborative practice are revealed: mean time on scene was 47 mins; 62% were not conveyed; 38% were referred, mainly to accident and emergency; ECPs claimed to make the referral decision in 87% of cases with a successful referral in 96% of cases; and in 66% of cases ECPs claimed that their intervention prevented an acute trust admission. The qualitative interview findings, final collaborative model and recommendations are reported in another paper.

Conclusions: The collaborative performance of ECPs varies, but the ECPs’ role does appear to have an impact on collaborative practices and patient care. Final recommendations are reported with the qualitative results elsewhere.

  • CCQ, Communication Competence Questionnaire
  • ETD, Emergency Team Dynamics
  • ECP, emergency care practitioner
  • LBDQ, Leadership Behaviour Description Questionnaire
  • WAST, Westcountry Ambulance Service NHS Trust
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