Emergency Department Quality Improvement: Patient Medication Education

Student Author(s)

Elizabeth Roskamp

Faculty Mentor(s)

Emilie Dykstra Goris, PhD, RN and Marcy Achterhof, MSM, BSN, RN, CEN

Document Type


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Nurses play a key role in patient medication education, which impacts medication adherence and affects patient outcomes. This study examined how Emergency Department (ED) nurses in a small community hospital educated patients about medications in order to identify strengths and areas for improvement using a short questionnaire in conjunction with observation. A convenience sample of 101 registered nurses was recruited from the ED of a small community hospital in the Midwest. Analyses were completed using SPSS statistical software. Faye Abdellah’s Theory, the foundation for this study, focuses on providing information to the patient to help meet each patient’s needs and increase self-care ability. A data collection tool was created based on a draft version of the Emergency Department Consumer Assessment of Health Care Providers and Systems (ED-CAHPS) survey to assess whether the nurse explained medication purpose and possible side effects and to collect relevant demographic data (age, gender, degree, years of experience). There was a significant relationship between degree preparation and medication side effect explanation by nurses in the Emergency Department (χ2= 3.84, p= 0.05). BSN-prepared nurses were more likely to explain medication side effects to each patient. This study concluded that there is room for improvement regarding provision of medication side-effect education to each patient. Limitations included participation/observation bias, limited generalizability, and small sample size. The ED-CAHPS survey will dictate future reimbursement of the hospital, contribute to the quality improvement of the unit, and potentially identify areas of nursing practice in need of intervention. Future nursing research will need to be done to identify whether or not improvement has occurred based on the changes made as a result of this study.


This research was supported by Holland Hospital and the Hope College Department of Nursing.

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