Introduction: In the context of providing quality safe care, the Irish Health
Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) (2009) recommended a reconfiguration of
smaller hospitals which resulted in some emergency departments being downsized
to minor injury units.
Aims & Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the transition experiences
of frontline staff in an Irish Emergency department which was reconfigured to a minor
Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was employed and semi-structured
interviews were conducted with 8 nurses and 2 doctors. Braun and Clarke’s (2006)
thematic analysis framework was used for data analysis.
Outcomes: The findings of this study reveal that frontline staff experience a mixture
of positive and negative feelings when a change occurs in their role and place of
work. There was a negative emotional impact on staff initially with concerns for their
future roles being a prominent finding. Support structures, particularly from
management were identified as lacking during the reconfiguration period however
team support was positive. Although staff experienced a significant loss they were
proud of their new service and had acquired new skills which increased their job
Conclusion: This study found that after a period of time staff adjusted to their new
roles and saw the benefits the reconfiguration gave to staff and patients. They
expressed feeling greater confidence in their knowledge and skills, enhanced levels
of job satisfaction and ultimately less occupational stress. Negative impacts can be
negated where there is good communication from senior and middle management
and provision of information to both staff and public.