Assessment and management of patients with tibial plateau fractures in emergency departments
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Assessment and management of patients with tibial plateau fractures in emergency departments

Barry McBrien Advanced nurse practitioner, emergency department, Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

Tibial plateau fractures are complex injuries and relatively common presentations in emergency departments (EDs), yet the diagnosis is not always obvious. Patients with this injury are managed increasingly in EDs by registered advanced nurse practitioners (RANPs), who are recognised in Ireland as senior clinical decision-makers. RANPs are broadening their scope of practice to maximise their responses to current and emerging challenges in healthcare services. They use a range of skills, including taking comprehensive health histories, problem solving, clinical decision-making and using their expert judgement to diagnose and create management plans for patients who attend EDs.

In Ireland, RANP is a protected title and practitioners work within an agreed scope of practice, meeting criteria set by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland to register. RANPs ensure continuity of care, improve the quality of care, provide a quick response to patient care, reduce waiting times and improve flow of patients through EDs. The main scope of RANPs’ practice in emergency care includes management of patients with non-life-threatening limb conditions or injures, such as a tibial plateau fracture.

This article gives an overview of tibial plateau fractures, including anatomy, and presents a case study to analyse critically the management of a patient with this injury and the care provided by a RANP. In the context of the case study, the article reviews the RANP’s diagnostic decisions and the available management options.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2019.e1981

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

McBrien B (2019) Assessment and management of patients with tibial plateau fractures in emergency departments. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2019.e1981

Published online: 01 October 2019

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