This study aimed to identify qualified nurses’ perceptions of the helpfulness of selected nursing actions, derived from the literature, in meeting the needs of suddenly bereaved family members in the accident and emergency (A&E) department The effect of age, length of professional experience and death education received on the respondents’ perceptions was examined The nurse subjects’ feelings of preparation for this stressful role were also identified A self-administered, structured questionnaire using a five-point, Likert-type rating scale and two open-ended questions was developed A non-randomized, convenience sample of 52 qualified nurses working in three A&E departments in the Greater London Area was used Analysis of the sample's responses to the 35 nursing actions included revealed that certain activities were ranked lower in terms of their perceived helpfulness, compared to the survivors’ perceptions in other studies All three variables considered had a statistically significant correlation with the perceptions of the sample as measured by the instrument (P<0 05, using Mann–Whitney U-test) Only 42% of the sample had received any form of death education and 56% felt unprepared for this specialist role