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Adult nursing
Cervical spine can be assessed effectively by emergency department triage nurses
  1. Mike Parker
  1. Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Mike Parker, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK; mike.parker{at}

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Commentary on: Stiell IG, Clement CM, Lowe M, et al. A multicenter program to implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule by emergency department triage nurses. Ann Emerg Med. 2018. pii: S0196-0644(18)30300-7.

Implications for practice and research

  • Allowing emergency department (ED) triage nurses to assess and implement the Canadian C-Spine Rule on ambulatory patients who present to the ED complaining of neck pain, and patients who attend the ED via the ambulance service with triple immobilisation in situ (sandbag, collared and tape) will reduce waiting times and improve patient experience.

  • Other guidelines are available for clinicians to consider when ‘clearing’ the c-spine, namely the National Emergency X-Radiography Utilization Study,1 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2016) guidance paper on spinal injuries: initial assessment and management,2 and the Prehospital Trauma Life Support (2014) criteria.3 There is scope for future research to identify …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.