College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree



Emergency Department, nurse perceptions, burnout, salutogenesis, questionnaire


The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of emergency nurses on the intended, ideal, and actual utilization of their emergency departments. Emergency nurses who self-identified by membership in a couple of online mailing lists catering to that specialty were invited via email to participate in an online survey. Participants described the purpose of the emergency department in which they work, along with their perception of how it is actually used and should be used. Responses were sorted by content analysis, with some of the resulting themes analyzed using demographic data supplied by participants. A range of responses were received on a continuum ranging from a desire to limit the use of the emergency department to actual emergencies, to accepting patients who perceived their needs were emergent, to allowing all comers to use the emergency department. Using a Salutogenic framework, answers on the former end of the continuum were determined to represent rigid ideals that put nurses at risk for burnout, while those at the latter end were more likely to buffer nurses against burnout. Providing a mission statement specific to the emergency department, which many emergency departments were found not to have, can be one way of providing institutional guidance to emergency nurses and supporting attitudes that protect against burnout.