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Emerg Med Australas. 2019 Mar 28. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.13251. [Epub ahead of print]

Attitudes and beliefs of Australian emergency department clinicians on antimicrobial stewardship in the emergency department: A qualitative study.

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Pharmacy Department, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Centre for Medicine Use and Safety, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
The National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship, Peter Doherty Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Emergency Services, Box Hill Hospital, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Infectious Diseases Department, Eastern Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



To explore the attitudes and beliefs of Australian ED clinicians towards antimicrobial stewardship in the ED.


Semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted with ED clinicians between March and October 2015. Participants were identified via purposive and snowball sampling. Questionnaires were developed using the literature. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis via the framework approach. Two researchers coded independently, with one using QSR International's NVivo 10 software and the other manually. Emergent themes were identified and classified.


Twenty-two clinicians (eight doctors, eight nurses and six pharmacists) from seven institutions participated. Participants were aware and concerned about antimicrobial resistance. Clinicians were divided based on their opinion on whether antimicrobials are prescribed appropriately and judiciously in the ED, with many perceiving prescribing to be inappropriate. Prior knowledge of the term 'Antimicrobial Stewardship' was demonstrated by doctors and pharmacists, with a relative lack of awareness by nurses. Four main themes were identified as both barriers and facilitators to antimicrobial stewardship in the ED: individual healthcare provider, resource, organisational and cultural. Uncertainty of diagnosis, time and resource pressures, reliance on previous experience and lack of access to expert opinion were perceived barriers. To facilitate appropriate prescribing, clinicians emphasised the need for routine education and feedback, adequate staffing, robust guidelines, senior medical clinician advocacy and multidisciplinary support.


Australian ED clinicians were aware of antimicrobial resistance. Many perceive injudicious antimicrobial use as problematic. Consideration of ED clinicians' perceived barriers and facilitators might enhance implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programmes in EDs.


anti-infective agents; antibacterial agents; antimicrobial stewardship; attitude; emergency service; hospital


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