Emergency nurses' perceptions of the role of confidence, self-efficacy and reflexivity in managing the cognitively impaired older person in pain

Margaret Fry, Casimir MacGregor, Simone Hyland, Barbara Payne, Lynn Chenoweth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: The study aimed to explore the practice of care among emergency nurses caring for older persons with cognitive impairment and who presented in pain from a long bone fracture, to highlight nurse confidence and selfefficacy in practice. Background: Cognitive impairment is an issue increasingly facing emergency departments. Older persons with cognitive impairment have complex care needs, requiring effective clinical decision-making and provision of care. Nurse confidence and self-efficacy are critical to meeting the necessary standards of care for this vulnerable patient group. Design: A multicentre study. Methods: The study was undertaken across four emergency departments in Sydney, Australia. Sixteen focus group discussions were conducted with 80 emergency departments of nurses. Results: Four main themes emerged: confidence and self-efficacy through experience; confidence and self-efficacy as a balancing act; confidence and self-efficacy as practice; and confidence and self-efficacy and interpersonal relations. Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that confidence, self-efficacy and reflexivity enabled the delivery of appropriate, timely and compassionate care. Further, confidence and self-efficacy within nursing praxis relied on clinical experience and reflective learning and was crucial to skill and knowledge acquisition. Relevance to clinical practice: Our research suggests that confidence, self-efficacy and reflexivity need to be developed and valued in nurses careers to better meet the needs of complex older persons encountered within everyday practice. (c) 2015 John Wiley Sons Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1622 - 1629
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Cognitive impairment
  • confidence
  • emergency care
  • older adults
  • self-efficacy
  • sociology

Cite this