The Lived Emergency Room Experiences of Nurses, Patients and Family Members: A Phenomenological Study

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 11:05 AM

Brigitte Cypress, EdD, RN, CCRN
Department of Nursing, Lehman College City University of New York, Bronx, NY

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the findings of the study and its implications and recommendations to nursing practice, education, research and administration.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discuss the importance family-centered care, promote the inclusion of family in all aspects of care in organizational policy.


The goal of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore, understand and describe the meaning of the emergency room experiences of the patients, their family members and nurses during critical illness, to document a research agenda to improve patients’ outcomes, contribute to evidence-based practice and influence policy of family presence in critical care.


Using Van Manen’s phenomenological method, this study was able to elucidate the experiential descriptions, essential relationships, and meaning structures of the emergency room lived experiences of the twenty three participants during critical illness.


While nurses perceived that addressing the patient’s physiologic deficit promptly is paramount in the emergency room, they also set forth that including family members as co-participants in the care is equally important. Patients and family members perceived that communication, critical thinking, sensitivity and caring are necessary for emergency room nurses. These themes constituted the essences and meaning structures of the perceived lived emergency room experiences of the twenty three participants during critical illness.


The results of this phenomenological study emphasizes the importance of critical thinking skills, communication, sensitivity, caring abilities and involvement of patients and their families in the care of critically ill in the emergency room. Patient and family-centered care is grounded in mutually beneficial partnerships among patients, families, and providers. The recommendations for nursing, administrative and institutional policy includes ongoing assessment, mentoring, leading and facilitating that can help to develop and improve the interpersonal, communication, critical thinking skills and caring practices of the nursing staff. The nursing knowledge gained from this study provides insight into how these experiences can influence nursing practice, education, administration and future research.