Acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs) are increasingly being employed in ICUs to offset physician shortages, but no data exist about outcomes of critically ill patients continuously cared for by ACNPs.
Prospective cohort study of all admissions to an adult medical ICU in an academic, tertiary-care center between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2013. The primary end point of 90-day survival was compared between patients cared for by ACNP and resident teams using Cox proportional hazards regression. Secondary end points included ICU and hospital mortality and ICU and hospital length of stay.
Among 9,066 admissions, there was no difference in 90-day survival for patients cared for by ACNP or resident teams (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.94; 95% CI, 0.85-1.04; P = .21). Although patients cared for by ACNPs had lower ICU mortality (6.3%) than resident team patients (11.6%; adjusted OR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.63-0.94; P = .01), hospital mortality was not different (10.0% vs 15.9%; adjusted OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.73-1.03; P = .11). ICU length of stay was similar between the ACNP and resident teams (3.4 ± 3.5 days vs 3.7 ± 3.9 days [adjusted OR, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.93-1.1; P = .81]), but hospital length of stay was shorter for patients cared for by ACNPs (7.9 ± 11.2 days) than for resident patients (9.1 ± 11.2 days) (adjusted OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.80-0.95; P = .001).
Outcomes are comparable for critically ill patients cared for by ACNP and resident teams.