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Health, Medicine, Nursing
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The Impact of Emergency Department Overcrowding (Essay Sample)

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Several hospitals worldwide experience overcrowding at their emergency departments (ED). The main contributor to ED overcrowding is increasing critically ill patients and the number of people seeking emergency medical care. explain The Impact of Emergency Department Overcrowding: Effect on Nursing Professional Practice and Patient Care.

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The Impact of Emergency Department Overcrowding: Effect on Nursing Professional Practice and Patient Care
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The Impact of Emergency Department Overcrowding: Effect on Nursing Professional Practice and Patient Care
Several hospitals worldwide experience overcrowding at their emergency departments (ED). The main contributor to ED overcrowding is increasing critically ill patients and the number of people seeking emergency medical care (Trzeciak, 2005). There is no universally accepted definition of ED overcrowding. However, scholars opine that the phenomenon refers “to an extreme volume of patients in ED treatment areas, forcing the ED to operate beyond its capacity” (Trzeciak, 2005, p. 291). Previous research has indicated that more than 90 percent of healthcare facilities in the United States experience overcrowding daily (Trzeciak, 2005). The evidence shows that ED overcrowding is an acute problem that negatively impacts professional nursing practice and patient care.
Several studies have reported that ED overcrowding is associated with adverse effects on patient care. ED overcrowding negatively affects patient outcomes due to long wait times, especially for patients with relatively less severe symptoms (Trzeciak, 2005). Patient care is greatly compromised due to ED overcrowding since some healthcare facilities choose to divert ambulances to other facilities to avoid overstretching their available resources (Jeanmonod & Jeanmonod, 2018). Previous studies have shown that diverting ambulances carrying patients suffering from cardiac arrest leads to increased mortality rates and reduced revascularization (Jeanmonod & Jeanmonod, 2018). Moreover, ED overcrowding leads to delayed CT and MRI scanning for patients involved in road accidents, which leads to increased mortality rates, poorer recovery, and other associated complications. Furthermore, ED overcrowding leads to delayed administration of patient care, such as analgesia to manage pain. Similarly, ED overcrowding is associated with increased hospital stay and delayed medical attention, even for critically ill patients. The evidence shows that ED overcrowding leads to poor patients outcomes due to compromised care.
Nursing professional practice is negatively influenced by ED overcrowding. Nursing professionals are frustrated by ED overcrowding since they cannot provide the highest quality of patient care leading to job dissatisfaction (Eriksson et al., 2018). ED overcrowding leads to higher rates of medication errors associated with nursing professionals’ fatigue (Johnson & Winkelman, 2011). Additionally, ED overcrowding compromises nursing professionals’ ability to offer quality care due to burnout, depression, compassion fatigue, and anger. Patients expect nurses to exhibit cultural awareness, compassion, empathy, and professional mastery when providing medical care. Nonetheless, ED overcrowding hinders nurses’ ability to display the qualities mentioned above due to fatigue and burnout (Eriksson et al., 2018). Moreover, the increased number of patients in ED leads to lower nurse-patient ratios, which is detrimental to the quality of patient care. From the preceding, it is evident that ED overcrowding leads to negative outcomes on nursing professional practice.
In conclusion, the majority of healthcare facilities around the globe undergo f

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