ER Nurses Have Important Role in Psychosocial Interventions

Literature review reveals importance of nurse-patient communications
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Nurses play a critical role in calming and comforting emergency department patients, and, with knowledge of what causes patients' fear and anxiety, may be able to apply evidence-based psychosocial interventions to decrease fear and increase comfort, according to a literature review published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

Laural K. Wagley, R.N., and Sarah E. Newton, R.N., of Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., conducted a literature review on the psychosocial interventions used by nurses to manage emergency department patients' fear and anxiety.

The researchers found six articles relevant to their search. One theme was the importance of emergency nurses understanding what causes fear and anxiety in emergency department patients and what they find comforting. Another theme was the need for the emergency nurse to be aware of patterns of verbal and nonverbal communications and the possibility that patient and patient family perception of the nurse's communication may vary widely from the nurse's perception.

"Clearly, additional research is warranted, especially regarding the sources of emergency department patients' fears and anxieties, as well as how that knowledge can facilitate the discovery of appropriate psychosocial nursing interventions that, when implemented by emergency nurses, will increase emergency department patient comfort and provide them with a sense of well-being," the authors write.

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