Reducing Avoidable Emergency Department Usage via Primary Prevention
Authors: Jessica Brown, Eric Duncan, Cheyenne Fennell, and Sydney Kriegh
Faculty Supervisor: Nicole Masano, DNP, RN, CNM, CME
Community Partner: ERgent Med Brunswick
Use of the emergency department for non-essential services has been associated with decreased community cohesiveness, and often contributes to an individual's negative health outcomes. Unfortunately, a common reason for emergency department misuse is the difficulty in determining when emergency treatment is necessary or lack of access to primary care. With this deficit in mind, we chose to address this need within the community by creating pamphlets that include the locations of local primary care facilities, along with education about what constitutes visiting the emergency room versus immediate care. ERgent Med, a local immediate care provider chose to work together with us by providing us essential education regarding primary care deficits in the community and a location to offer our pamphlets. This service-learning project enabled us to gain insight into the impact that health education has on community health as a whole. Primary prevention takes an upstream approach to health and is the foundational principle for not only our project but also the care we will provide as future nurses. The completion of this project required us to further develop our critical thinking and problem-solving skills by attempting to discover solutions for the longstanding issue of emergency department overuse. Our hope for future effects is an increase in the population’s awareness of local immediate care services, and that other facilities will begin to offer similar informational packets.