The accident and emergency department : nurses' priorities and patients' anxieties

Byrne, Geraldine (1992) The accident and emergency department : nurses' priorities and patients' anxieties. Doctoral thesis, University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

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This study investigated the sources of anxiety for patients in the Accident and Emergency Department and explored how patients' anxiety was influenced by their experiences in the department and the attitudes, behaviour and communication patterns of nurses and other staff.
The research was carried out in two Accident and Emergency Departments and consisted of three stages. Stage One employed structured interviews with 96 patients to identify sources of anxiety for patients in the Accident and Emergency Department and to examine the relationship between anxiety and the patient variables of age, sex, condition and department. In Stage Two in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 qualified nurses to explore their perceptions of their work and patients. Stage Three was an observational study, involving 23 patients, which examined the nature of nurse-patient communication in the Accident and Emergency Department. A Symbolic Interactionist framework was used in order to understand events from the perspective of those involved.
Patients appeared to view their stay in the Accident and Emergency Department as an event occurring within the wider context of their daily lives and were concerned with social factors related to admission and the consequences of their illness or injury. Nurses held a different perspective and were more concerned with physical care and the organisation of the patients' stay in the department. In contrast to the patients, the nurses were concerned with short-term problems. Interaction between nurses and patients consisted predominantly of brief encounters which focused on the patients' illness or injury and their progress through the department. There was little attention explicitly directed towards dealing with patients' anxieties. A complex range of factors - interpersonal, cultural, interprofessional and structural - were found to influence communication.
A number of recommendations are made identifying ways to enhance nurses' ability to deal with patients' anxieties.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis digitised by the British Library e-thesis online service, EThOS.
Subjects: B700 Nursing
Department: University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 15:11

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