Emergency Nurses Report Barriers to Talking with Patients about Serious Illnesses

Having conversations about patient's wishes can affect end-of-life care

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., March 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Three-quarters of patients presenting to an ED with a serious illness do so in the last six months of their life. Being able to have conversations around end-of-life care is crucial so that the nurses can provide care consistent with the patient's wishes.

Emergency nurses are well-positioned to have those conversations and coordinate care, but nearly 68 percent reported they will encounter barriers while having those conversations according to a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

"Emergency nurses are in a unique position where they may be required to have end-of-life conversations with patients at a moment's notice," said Journal of Emergency Nursing Editor-in-Chief Anna Valdez, PhD, RN, PHN, CEN, CFRN, CNE, FAEN, FAADN. "It's imperative that emergency nurses are prepared to have meaningful end-of-life discussions with patients and their loved ones."

Researchers found three themes of barriers from the 2,176 nurses surveyed: human factors, time constraints and work environment challenges. Subthemes found include perceived difficulty of serious illness conversations, delay in daily throughput and lack of privacy in emergency departments.

The Journal of Emergency Nursing, ENA's peer-reviewed academic journal, is published six times a year with original research and updates from the emergency nursing specialty, while also covering practice and professional issues.

The March issue can be found online here. Other topics covered include pediatric triage accuracy, needs of family members in emergency departments, cold spray and ice impact, and more.

About the Emergency Nurses Association
The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With nearly 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines, and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.

ENA Media Contact:
Morgan Wietecha
Media Relations Strategist

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SOURCE Emergency Nurses Association