Date of Award

Spring 2008

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Nursing

Abstract

Alcohol use among the underaged is hard to deny in today’s society, yet even extreme use when the individual ends up in the emergency room at the hospital is portrayed as a non-life-changing event. The aim of the present study is to take a look at the trends of alcohol-related emergency room admissions of underage youths over the past five years as a point of determining the number of individuals admitted and the increase of admissions each year and to combine this study with three personal interviews with those individuals who have been through the actual experience of being admitted to the emergency room related to alcohol use. Data from the hospital were obtained using expedited chart reviews, where all identifying information has been deleted, and the interviews were analyzed using the phenomenology method in order to obtain themes throughout the interviews. Findings indicate an average of 1.00% increase annually of the number of individuals admitted to the emergency room, and the interviews indicated that while being admitted to the emergency room would seem as though it would cause a lifechanging experience, issues such as concerns about penalties and what a “great story it was” are what individuals walked away with in the end. Nurses need to be aware that it is the long-term events that will change an individual and his or her drinking habits, not a short-term emergency room admission. This study can be generalized to the greater public wherever there are underage alcohol-related admissions to emergency rooms, but this study only included three individuals and their experience is their own. It is not necessarily what everyone will experience upon admit to the emergency room, and their future is not necessarily going to be the same for everyone.

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