Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Danette Dutra, Chair

Second Advisor

Debbie Steele

Third Advisor

Marilyn Green


Emergency Nurse, Adults with Autism


Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. The nurse (RN) in the emergency department (ED) plays an important role in the receiving, treatment, and management of the patient with autism. RNs must understand the unique challenges of caring for individuals with autism. Fortunately, autism is an active area of research, with copious resources available to assist those affected by this disorder; however, no studies were found evaluating nurses’ knowledge of autism and the number of resources for nurses caring for this population was limited. Nursing is an information-intensive profession and the information obtained from this survey of knowledge and beliefs was valuable in identifying the ED nurse’s educational needs and providing support for the provision of accurate information to health care professionals. This survey found a slight majority of ED nurses having accurate knowledge, correctly identifying causes and comorbidities, and choosing appropriate interventions. This survey confirmed the limited knowledge and resources available for ED RNs. Further research on nursing care of adults with ASD is clearly warranted.

Included in

Other Nursing Commons


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