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Int Emerg Nurs. 2009 Jan;17(1):23-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ienj.2008.08.002. Epub 2008 Oct 11.

Attitudes and beliefs of emergency department staff regarding alcohol-related presentations.

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National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, 22-32 King Street, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia.



This study examined emergency department (ED) staff attitudes and beliefs about alcohol-related ED presentations in order to recommend improved detection and brief intervention strategies.


The survey was conducted at two inner-Sydney hospital EDs in 2006 to explore ED clinical staff's attitudes, current practice and barriers for managing alcohol-related ED presentations. The sample included N=78 ED staff (54% nurses, 46% doctors), representing a 30% response rate.


Management of alcohol-related problems was not routine among ED staff, with only 5% usually formally screening for alcohol problems, only 16% usually conducting brief interventions, and only 27% usually providing a referral to specialist treatment services. Over 85% of ED staff indicated that lack of patient motivation made providing alcohol interventions very difficult. Significant predictors of good self-reported practice among ED staff for patients with alcohol problems included: being a doctor, being confident and having a sense of responsibility towards managing patients with alcohol-related problems.


This study reported that many staff lack the confidence or sense of clinical responsibility to fully and appropriately manage ED patients with alcohol-related problems. ED staff appear to require additional training, resources and support to enhance their management of patients with alcohol-related problems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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