Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Debra Beebe


Nursing education courses and professional development (PD) do not include coping and resilience training for registered nurses (RNs) who work in emergency departments (EDs). Exposure to traumatic events, death, and dying may lead to health issues, substance abuse, stress symptoms, nursing staff turnover, and compassion fatigue among ED RNs. Without training, the pattern of adverse outcomes may continue. The purpose of this study was to explore ED RNs' experiences with occupational traumatic stress (OTS), and their recommendations for change to nursing PD programs, using a qualitative bounded intrinsic case study. The conceptual framework for this study included social learning and experiential learning theories. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 7 licensed and employed ED RNs with more than 1 year in EDs and who volunteered to participate in the study. Data were examined analytically using descriptive, emotion, and patterns coding strategies and In Vivo to identify categories and themes. Based on nurses' experiences, ED RNs require a collaborative team training approach in learning and sharing opportunities regarding preparatory, de-escalation, and self-care strategies to overcome OTS. Based on the findings, a 3-day interactive PD workshop program was created for ED nurses to address those needs. These endeavors may contribute to positive social change by increasing wellness, cohesive ED teamwork, healthy stress management practices, better patient care, and reduced turnover for ED RNs. Furthermore, nurse educators may benefit from adding coping and resilience training to the nursing education curriculum to address and possibly mitigate the effects of OTS.