Newton, Sharon (2011) Relatives‟ and nurses‟ experiences of sudden death in Accident and Emergency departments: A qualitative study. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This qualitative study explored the experience of sudden death in A&E using an interpretive-phenomenological and narrative approach. The purpose of the study was two-fold: firstly, to gain an understanding of sudden death as experienced by bereaved relatives, and secondly, to explore the work of nurses in A&E, in particular their involvement with sudden death. Hence, the study was conducted in two parts. In both parts of this study the participants were engaged in revealing their experiences of sudden and unexpected death.

The first part of the study explored the impact of sudden death on the lives of the bereaved. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to explore the personal impact and experience of loss. A total of seventeen relatives took part in these semi-structured interviews in which they were invited to discuss their personal experiences of sudden death. The analysis revealed that sudden death is a significant episode in the lives of bereaved relatives. Their experiences detailed how the initial shock surrounding the death permeated all aspects of their life. Analysis of the relatives‟ interviews led to a comprehensive understanding of the experience of sudden death and its impact in the lives of the bereaved.

In the second part of the study, the experience of sudden death from the perspective of A&E nurses was explored using narrative interviews. Twelve A&E nurses participated in the narrative interviews. Analysis of the nurses‟ narratives revealed that sudden death is a significant event for A&E nurses. The narratives revealed that working in a contemporary A&E environment is target orientated as opposed to patient focused. This often led to conflict for A&E nurses‟ as they balanced the workload of a busy environment with the needs of the suddenly bereaved.

In both parts of the study, the use of a qualitative approach enabled different perspectives or realities on the phenomenon of sudden death to be explored. The use of interviews was a deliberate choice in order to facilitate participants to describe and discuss their experiences of sudden death in keeping with phenomenological and narrative approaches.

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