Emergency physicians' and nurses' attitudes towards alcohol-intoxicated patients

Otis U. Warren, Victoria Sena, Esther Choo, Jason MacHan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Emergency physicians and nurses are frequently dissatisfied professionally when treating alcohol-intoxicated patients, and have negative attitudes towards this patient population and alcohol rehabilitation. Study Objectives: The goal of this study is to examine differences in attitudes between emergency physicians and nurses towards alcohol-intoxicated patients. Methods: This single-site survey study evaluated emergency physicians' and nurses': 1) attitudes of personal professional satisfaction and dissatisfaction when caring for intoxicated patients; 2) attitudes towards the difficulty in caring for alcohol-intoxicated patients; 3) attitudes towards respect of the alcohol-intoxicated patient; 4) attitudes towards the adequacy of training in caring for intoxicated patients; 5) attitudes towards rehabilitation and counseling of alcohol-intoxicated patients. Results: Physicians were less satisfied and more dissatisfied than nurses when caring for alcohol-intoxicated patients. Physicians found treating alcohol-intoxicated patients more difficult than nurses did. Physicians were more likely to agree that alcohol-intoxicated patients should be treated with respect. Physicians felt more adequately trained than nurses in caring for alcohol-intoxicated patients. Nurses were more likely to believe that alcohol-related rehabilitation is ineffective compared with physicians. Both nurses and physicians refer alcohol-intoxicated patients to rehabilitation to a similar extent. Conclusions: Emergency physicians and nurses have similar attitudes but significant differences in the extent of these attitudes towards the care of the alcohol-intoxicated patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1167-1174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • alcohol
  • attitude
  • emergency
  • nurse
  • physician

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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