ED pressures: safety and well-being of nursing staff is vital

Patient and carer frustrations can soon boil over in a pressurised emergency department, so it is important to maintain emergency nurses’ safety and well-being

A triage nurse speaks to a patient and her friend to assess their symptoms in the emergency department
Picture: iStock

Our latest continuing professional development article, Maintaining a safe environment in emergency department waiting rooms, looks at how nurses can ensure the safety of patients and staff in overcrowded emergency department (ED) waiting rooms.

Suzanne Robinson, lecturer in adult nursing and clinical skills, and simulation lead at the University of Plymouth, explores factors likely to contribute to communication breakdowns and confrontation and identifies strategies that nurses can employ to alleviate patients’ anxiety and discomfort during long waits.

For triage nurses in particular, overcrowding poses a challenge in terms of assessing patients in a timely manner and monitoring them for clinical deterioration.

Emergency care is continually evolving to cope with intense demands

Ms Robinson emphasises the importance of maintaining the safety and well-being of nursing staff in these high-pressure settings, where patient and carer frustrations can often boil over.

She describes how, in response, some EDs have increased the number of triage nurses while others have created a waiting room nurse role to undertake secondary triage tasks enabling triage nurses to focus on primary triage.

These are examples of how emergency care is evolving to cope with the intense demand placed on it year-round. So-called corridor care, examined in ‘Corridor care’ in the emergency department: managing patient care in non-clinical areas safely and efficiently, is another example.

Potential authors passionate about sharing their work can contribute on two new topics

In recognition of how trusts are being forced to diversify in these challenging times, Emergency Nurse has launched two new content themes: ‘contemporary issues affecting healthcare’ and ‘advanced and enhanced practices’.

Our aim is to raise awareness of new approaches which have successfully been adopted in emergency settings to improve patient care and safety, as well as staff well-being, by encouraging nurses to write and publish evidence-based articles with us that share best practice and inspire and support others.

We are now commissioning articles on these two new topics, as well as on our pre-existing themes which have been refreshed: workforce and well-being, improvement projects, major and minor trauma, children’s emergency care and infection.

Any potential authors passionate about sharing their work can email me at sophie.blakemore@rcni.com or access our author guidelines.

I look forward to working with you in 2024.

Further information

Author guidelines for publishing articles with RCNi

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