Date of Award

Fall 11-19-2020

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Sarah M. I. Cartwright, DNP, MSN-PH, BAM, RN-BC, CAPA, FASPAN

Second Advisor

Sandra Swearingen, PhD, RN


Practice Problem: Emergency department crowding inhibits the ability to provide safe patient care to chest pain patients and negatively impact patient outcomes. A Veteran Affairs emergency department has identified a similar concern and implemented a nurse-initiated protocol to decrease the length of stay and improve patient outcomes.

PICOT: This evidence-based practice (EBP) project was guided by the following PICOT question: In the emergency department (ED), how does a nurse-initiated protocol (NIP) for chest pain (CP) patients compared to no protocol use influence length of stay (LOS) in the ED over 8 weeks?

Evidence: The reviewed literature supported the evidence of effective use of a nurse-initiated protocol in reducing the length of stay in the emergency department. Eleven articles met the inclusion criteria and were used for this literature review.

Intervention: The evidence-based nurse-initiated protocol is an intervention to provide objective clinical practice guidelines for chest pain patients resulting in improved earlier diagnostic results and decreased length of stay in the emergency department.

Outcome: Post-implementation conclusions revealed no reduction in length of stay after using the protocol but achieved a clinically significant decrease in the time of completion for 12-lead EKGs.

Conclusion: Staff education and the implementation of an evidence-based NIP for CP established positive outcomes on reducing EKG times. The results were also clinically significant to validate the implementation of nursing protocols in the ED for decreasing LOS and improving patient outcomes.


Scholarly project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.