Differences Between Emergency Nurse Perception and Patient Reported Experience With an ED HIV and Hepatitis C Virus Screening Program

Douglas A E White, Erik S Anderson, Sarah K Pfeil, Sarah E Graffman, Tarak K Trivedi
Journal of Emergency Nursing: JEN: Official Publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association 2016, 42 (2): 139-45

INTRODUCTION: Nontargeted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and targeted hepatitis C virus (HCV) screening for selected high-risk patients (those born between 1945 and 1965 and those who report injection drug use) was integrated into our ED triage process and carried out by nurses. Determining whether emergency nurses accurately perceive what patients experience is important to know because staff misperceptions may pose a barrier to program adherence and sustainability.

METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional survey study of emergency nurses and patients to assess the accuracy of emergency nurses' perception of patient experience with the HIV/HCV screening program. Respondents evaluated their level of agreement using a 5-item Likert scale for 9 statements across 4 domains related to the patient experience with the screening process (satisfaction, sense of autonomy, sense of privacy, and comfort level).

RESULTS: Surveys were completed by 65 of the 153 eligible emergency nurses (42%). Of the 1040 patients approached, 610 (59%) were eligible, and 491 of the 610 eligible patients (80%) completed surveys. Across all domains, statistically significant differences were found between emergency nurse perception and patient report, P < .001. Emergency nurses perceived patients to be less satisfied with the screening program, more uncomfortable with being asked screening questions, more concerned about privacy issues, and less likely to feel that the decision to decline screening was autonomous than were patients.

DISCUSSION: Emergency nurses not only frequently misperceive how patients experience ED-based HIV/HCV screening, but these misperceptions are skewed toward the negative, representing a type of staff bias. Further research is recommended to determine if such misperceptions adversely affect implementation of screening.

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