In the US, a nurse has been added to the Beverly Hills firefighting team, and will be riding onboard the ambulance unit, alongside paramedics, when the team responds to 911 calls.
The one-year implementation of the programme will be funded by the city of Beverly Hills. After responding to 911 calls, paramedics will evaluate a patient at the scene and if they determine the person does not need to go to the emergency room, they will then call in the nurse practitioner.
"If you take a look at any of the local hospitals, you'll know their emergency rooms are filled with truly non-critical patients, but nonetheless people who need care," said Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold. Officials of Beverly Hills added that they believe this latest development highlights that the city is going a ‘step further’ than other cities with similar programmes.
Firefighter paramedic Scott Marquez added that the Nurse Practitioner 1 (NP1) unit – which will be added to ambulance units – aims to keep patients out of the emergency rooms and cut down on overcrowding.
Nurse practitioner Teri Simmons said: "[flu season] means there's going to be a lot of patients waiting for hours in the emergency room to get care. This way, when we are called out to the home, we'll be able to do a lot of the similar testing and assessments they would receive there."