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Emergency Medicine International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 603215, 5 pages
Research Article

Encountering Anger in the Emergency Department: Identification, Evaluations and Responses of Staff Members to Anger Displays

1Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Weesperplein 4, 1018 XA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2William Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at Technion City, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel
3Department of Emergency Medicine, The Western Galilee Hospital, P.O. Box 21, Naharia 22100, Israel

Received 9 April 2012; Revised 14 June 2012; Accepted 14 June 2012

Academic Editor: Rade B. Vukmir

Copyright © 2012 Cheshin Arik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Anger manifestations in emergency departments (EDs) occur daily, interrupting workflow and exposing staff to risk. Objectives. How staff assess and recognize patients’ angry outbursts in EDs and elucidate responses to anger expressions, while considering effects of institution guidelines. Methods. Observations of staff patient interaction in EDs and personal interviews of staff (n=38) were conducted. Two questionnaires were administered (n=80 & n=144). Assessment was based mainly on regression statistic tests. Results. Staff recognizes two types of anger displays. Magnitude of anger expressions were correlated with staff’s fear level. Staff’s responses ranged from ignoring incidents, giving in to patients’ requests or immediately calling security. When staff felt fear and became angry they tended to call security. Staff was more likely to ignore anger when incident responsibility was assigned to patients. Discussion. Anger encounters are differentiated according to intensity level, which influences interpretations and response. Organizational policy has an effect on staff’s response. Conclusions. Staff recognizes anger at varying levels and responds accordingly. The level of danger staff feels is a catalyst in giving in or calling security. Call security is influenced by fear, and anger. Permanent guidelines can help staff in responding to anger encounters.