Aim: Sepsis is a significant and time-sensitive clinical concern for patients who present to Emergency Departments (EDs). Existing guidelines do not define nurses’ roles in managing sepsis. This study explored ED nurses’ experiences and perceptions around recognising and responding to patients with sepsis, and their awareness of sepsis screening and prognostic tools. The knowledge and insights gained from this study may be used to inform local and international ED policies, and enrich nursing educational packages that may be used to improve quality of patient care and patient outcomes.
Methods: Qualitative design incorporating semi-structured interviews with 14 ED nurses was undertaken. Thematic and consensus-based content analyses were used to explore transcripts.
Findings. Six key themes were identified; (1) contribution of the organisation, (2) appreciation of knowledge, (3) appreciation of clinical urgency, (4) appreciation of importance of staff supervision, (5) awareness of the importance of staff experience, and (6) awareness of the need to seek advice.
Conclusion: ED nurses’ identified deficits in their capacity to recognise and respond to patients with sepsis, despite their vital role within the multidisciplinary team that cares for patients with sepsis. The knowledge and insights gained from this study can be used to inform ED policies, to enrich context-specific educational packages that aim to improve quality of patient care and outcomes and identify areas for further research. Development and implementation of a nurse-inclusive sepsis pathway may address many deficits identified in this study.