Working in an overcrowded accident and emergency department: nurses' narratives
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Kilcoyne, M,Dowling, M (2007) 'Working in an overcrowded accident and emergency department: nurses' narratives'. Australian Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 25 :21-27.
Aim The aim of this study was to highlight nursing issues associated with overcrowding ( or access block) in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.Design An interpretive phenomenological approach was adopted, with the utilisation of unstructured interviews.Setting The A&E department of a general hospital situated in the West of Ireland.Participants Eleven nurses working in the A&E department volunteered to be interviewed.Findings Three central themes, with inter-related sub-themes, emerged from the data. The central themes identified were: lack of space, elusive care, and powerlessness, with sub-themes being health and safety issues, infection control issues, poor service delivery, lack of respect/dignity, nurses hovering, unmet basic human needs, not feeling valued, moral distress, and stress/burnout.Conclusions The nurses in this study provide a distressing picture of nursing in an A&E department, as they pursue the provision of effective, holistic care of patients in overcrowded conditions.