Emergency department nurses' perceptions and experiences of providing care for older people

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Nursing and Health Sciences, 2014, 16 (4), pp. 449 - 453
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© 2014 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd. Emergency department nurses are challenged to provide safe, quality care to older people however, nurses' perceptions of their role and experiences are seldom investigated. This focus-group study investigated emergency department nurses' perceptions and experiences of caring for older people, using four focus groups of nurses with a minimum three months' experience in the emergency department and a demographic survey. Data were thematically analyzed. Two themes emerged. The first was the clash of expectations between nurses and family/carers related to safety and quality of nursing care. Older people were perceived to be vulnerable in the emergency department, and nurses were frustrated that competing priorities decreased their ability to ensure them safe and quality care. Nurses felt family/carers were disappointed with care provided, and might not empathize with or understand their predicament. The second theme concerned nurses' perception that family/carers could provide a safety net for the older person in the emergency department in times of high workload. Nurses need support to care for older people in the emergency department to ensure safe and optimal care, and a shared understanding of care provision between nurses and family needs development.
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