Nurses' Knowledge and Skills to Manage Patients with Psychological Distress in Emergency Departments

The Open Nursing Journal 16 Apr 2020 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874434602014010049



Identifying and managing patients with psychological distress is a challenge to nurses at emergency departments at hospitals not specialized in psychiatric mental health. This requires that nurses must be equipped with knowledge and skills to fulfill patients’ needs.


The purpose of this study is to identify the knowledge and skills of nurses to manage patients with psychological distress in emergency departments.


A convenience sample of 307 registered nurses working at emergency departments completed and returned a package of surveys regarding knowledge and skills to manage patients with psychological distress in emergency departments.


Although nurses were found to have a high level of knowledge about managing psychological distress, their level of skills was lower. Nurses were found to encounter difficulty in identifying signs and symptoms of patients with psychological distress at emergency departments. A significant and positive correlation was found between nurses’ knowledge and skills (r =.68, p < .001). Statistical and significant differences were found in the knowledge of nursesin relation to their previous experience of receiving training and courses in managing psychological distress (p < .05).


Nurses need to improve the level of knowledge in order toidentify the psychological and physical signs and symptoms of psychological distress, as well as to be equipped with skills that make them capable tof providing proper care and meeting patients’ needs with psychological distress at emergency departments.

Keywords: Emergency Departments (ED), Psychological distress, nurses' knowledge, nurses' skills, emergency nurses, Jordan.
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