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 injury unit.
A qualitative descriptive design with purposeful sampling was employed for this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 nurses and 2 doctors who were present throughout the transition period. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis framework was used for data analysis.
The findings of this study gave rise to the view that frontline staff experience a mixture of positive and negative feelings when a change occurs in their role and place of work. Staff experienced considerable levels of moral distress and expressed concerns regarding patient care and safety. The concept and process of change management was raised by all participants and suggestions for key interventions required at both group level and an individual level were identified. Negative impacts can be negated where there is good communication from senior and middle management and provision of information to both staff and public. This is borne out also in the literature where it appears to be key through all stages of transition and restructuring (Burke et al, 2016; Nelson & Pilon, 2015).
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 greater confidence in their knowledge and skills, enhanced levels of job satisfaction and less occupational stress. There was an appreciation that ultimately the streamlining resulted in a safer more efficient service being offered to the public.