Background and Purpose:
Current uses of emergency care are ambiguous and lack clarity, leading to imprecise use of the term in nursing practice. An explicit definition of emergency care is necessary to build and advance the field. An empirically driven definition of emergency care is lacking in the refereed literature. The purpose of this article was to present an in-depth inquiry of emergency care that contributes to the advancement of knowledge and to articulate a defensible definition of emergency care.
This concept analysis was performed using the eight-step approach of Walker and Avant. A database search within the disciplines of nursing, medicine, education, and social sciences was conducted using the keyword emergency care. Databases of refereed literature were reviewed. Additional searches of nonrefereed literature, such as dictionaries and thesauri, were also examined.
Based on this concept analysis, the attributes of emergency care include the immediate evaluation and treatment of an unexpected illness or injury. Emergency care is not specific to a setting or location. Antecedents to emergency care consist of a precipitating event, recognition that medical help is required, and access to emergency care. A model, borderline, related, and contrary cases of emergency care are presented.
Implications for practice:
The identification of emergency care attributes in this concept analysis contributes to the body of knowledge in emergency care and clarifies the ambiguity of the concept to prompt developments in practice, theory, and research with implications for emergency nurse practitioner clinical education, and scope of practice regulation.