Alcohol, Attitudes, Compassion Fatigue, Emergency, Nurse, Satisfaction



  1. Williamson, Dawn RN, DNP, PMHCNS-BC, CARN-AP


Background: Emergency departments (EDs) treat over 20,000 patients daily with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). However, nurses receive limited education about AUDs. Studies have shown that ED nurses have negative attitudes about patients with AUDs. Negativity can contribute to the symptoms of compassion fatigue (CF) and to dissatisfaction with work.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to design, implement, and evaluate education about AUDs and CF for ED nurses.


Design: This study used a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest within-subjects design.


Sample: A convenience sample of 44 nurses was recruited at a large urban ED.


Methods: Nurses completed demographics, Professional Quality of Life: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue (ProQOL), and Short Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perceptions Questionnaire. Then, the nurses participated in 5 hours of an online educational program and a 1-hour live class about AUDs and CF. The surveys were readministered.


Results: The difference in pretest and posttest Short Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perceptions Questionnaire subscales of role security (expected value = 8.5, p < .006) and therapeutic commitment (expected value = 7.50, p = .018) was statistically significant. For ProQOL constructs, no statistical significance was found. The ProQOL subscales were compared with norms and were statistically significantly different.


Conclusion: Nurses' attitudes about patients with AUDs improved after completing the curriculum. Studied nurses had higher levels of professional satisfaction at baseline.