Emergency Physicians’ and Nurses’ Attitudes towards Alcohol-Intoxicated Patients

From the Journal of Emergency Medicine:

BACKGROUND: Emergency physicians and nurses are frequently dissatisfied professionally when treating alcohol-intoxicated patients, and have negative attitudes towards this patient population and alcohol rehabilitation.

STUDY OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study is to examine differences in attitudes between emergency physicians and nurses towards alcohol-intoxicated patients.

METHODS: This single-site survey study evaluated emergency physicians’ and nurses’: 1) attitudes of personal professional satisfaction and dissatisfaction when caring for intoxicated patients; 2) attitudes towards the difficulty in caring for alcohol-intoxicated patients; 3) attitudes towards respect of the alcohol-intoxicated patient; 4) attitudes towards the adequacy of training in caring for intoxicated patients; 5) attitudes towards rehabilitation and counseling of alcohol-intoxicated patients.

RESULTS: Physicians were less satisfied and more dissatisfied than nurses when caring for alcohol-intoxicated patients. Physicians found treating alcohol-intoxicated patients more difficult than nurses did. Physicians were more likely to agree that alcohol-intoxicated patients should be treated with respect. Physicians felt more adequately trained than nurses in caring for alcohol-intoxicated patients. Nurses were more likely to believe that alcohol-related rehabilitation is ineffective compared with physicians. Both nurses and physicians refer alcohol-intoxicated patients to rehabilitation to a similar extent.

CONCLUSIONS: Emergency physicians and nurses have similar attitudes but significant differences in the extent of these attitudes towards the care of the alcohol-intoxicated patient.

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