Disposition from the ED – a qualitative analysis of how a nurse call back system can be an effective method to improve patient experience and give valuable information for improvement.

Vanessa Gorman1, Emily Knights1,2

1Northpark Private Emergency Department, Bundoora, Australia, 2University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


That telephone follow-up 24-72hours post discharge helps to determine a patient’s level of satisfaction with their emergency department care, provides an avenue for patient feedback and has psychological and quality benefit.


We report a qualitative (thematic) analysis of patient feedback about a nurse led telephone call back service over a 6 month period. Patients who attended the ED and were discharged home were contacted by phone by a nurse. Telephone call were scripted. At the end of the call patients were asked to provide feedback about the service. This feedback was analysed using thematic analysis.


We identified three main themes from the feedback:

  1. Patients valued the service – people were happy to talk about their experience and the phone calls were positively received and appreciated
  2. Patients felt more involved in their care and treatment – data shows that over three-quarter of patients were impressed with the service
  3. Complaints proactively managed – patients had an avenue to provide feedback in a timely manner with reports of decreased concerns after the follow-up call was made

CONCLUSION:  The nurse follow-up call service is valued and appreciated by patients. It allows real-time feedback, which may reduce patient dissatisfaction post discharge from emergency care. Further research is required to establish the effectiveness of such an intervention.


Emily Knights commenced her nursing career in 2003 at St Vincent’s Public Hospital, Melbourne.  Across her 15 year nursing career she has held positions such as Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Alfred Hospital’s Emergency and Trauma Centre where she completed her post-graduate diploma of Nursing Science in Emergency Care 2009.  Acting in charge nurse and critical care nurse leader. More recently the leading nurse researcher in a national study for the University of Melbourne on depression and a type 2 diabetic study at the department of General Practice within the University of Melbourne.  She spends most of her time as Associate Nurse Unit Manager of the new Northpark Private Hospital’s Emergency Department and hospital co-ordinator.