Relative productivity of nurse practitioner and resident physician care models in the pediatric emergency department

William M. McDonnell, Pamela Carpenter, Kammy Jacobsen, Howard A. Kadish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: Duty hour restrictions limit the use of resident physicians in pediatric emergency departments (PEDs). We sought to determine the relative clinical productivity of PED attending physicians working with residents compared with PED attending physicians working with nurse practitioners (NPs). METHODS: In a tertiary care PED with multiple care models (PED attending physicians with residents and/or fellows, PED attending physicians with NPs, PED attending physicians alone), we identified periods when care was provided concurrently and exclusively by a PED attending physician with 1 to 2 residents (resident pod) and a PED attending physician with 1 NP (NP pod). Billing records were reviewed to determine relative value units (RVUs) generated and patients seen by each PED attending physician. Emergency Severity Index (ESI) triage scores were used to compare patient acuities. RESULTS: The NP pods generated 5.35 RVUs per hour and the resident pods generated 4.35 RVUs per hour, with a significant difference of 1.00 RVUs per hour (95% confidence interval, 0.19-1.82). The NP pods saw 2.18 patients per hour, whereas the resident pods saw 1.90 patients per hour. This difference of 0.28 was not statistically significant (95% confidence interval, -0.07 to 0.62). Patient acuity was similar. Thirteen percent of the NP pod patients had the highest triage severity levels of ESI-1 and ESI-2, whereas 19% of the resident pod patients were ESI-1 and ESI-2 (P = 0.06). CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric emergency department attending physicians in an NP care model had greater clinical productivity, measured by RVUs, than PED attending physicians in a resident care model while treating similar patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 13 2015


  • Economic workforce
  • Efficiency
  • Organization and administration
  • Residents
  • Staffing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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