Date of Graduation

Fall 2008


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Susan-Sims Giddens


poverty, healthcare, stigma, nurse, emergency

Subject Categories



There are 719,000 people in Missouri who do not have health insurance. These uninsured often have minimum wage jobs, lack social support and transportation, and are unable to take time away from work for illness or clinic appointments (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). In addition, this population faces a number of barriers in accessing consistent primary care, and often depends on hospital emergency departments for their routine medical needs. Studies revealed evidence that people who are poor believe that medical and nursing staffs were often rude and disrespectful (Morris & Strong, 2004; Stewart et al., 2005). In general, healthcare workers were perceived to be insensitive to the needs of their clients who are impoverished (Williamson et al., 2006). Because of these barriers, uninsured people with low-income jobs often delayed seeking care until their condition worsened, making their situation more difficult and costly to correct (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005). This study evaluated the attitudes of emergency department nurses towards their clients who are poor using an online survey conducted with the Missouri Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). Quantitative data using a Likert scale format and qualitative data using an open-end question were collected. Correlation studies using Statistical Program for the Social Sciences, 16.0 (SPSS) were calculated and found to be insignificant. However, qualitative data compared with the responses to the Likert scale items revealed that Emergency Department nurses do not perceive their clients who are poor as a group who can be generalized in the manner the questionnaire suggested. Rather, the working poor, and disabled were viewed with sympathy and admiration while those who were perceived to be capable of working and yet remained unemployed were thought of much more negatively.


© Brenda Simpson

Campus Only