Emergency nurses have endured a challenging year and a half, with COVID-19 patients overwhelming facilities, and those nurses have demonstrated courage and determination.
Recognizing this, the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is celebrating Emergency Nurses Week, October 10-16, 2021, with the theme of “Grit,” which highlights the passion and persistence of ED nurses, with a special focus on October 13 for Emergency Nurses Day. The association is highlighting the incredible things emergency nurses do every day, often in challenging circumstances.
“I encourage anybody [working] in the emergency department to take this week to reflect on the great things you do and take time for themselves to celebrate a great specialty and elevate each other up,” said Ron Kraus, MSN, RN, EMT, CEN, ACNS-BC, TCRN, president of ENA.
ENA plans to thank emergency nurses on social media and encourage them to keep up the persistence.
Emergency Nursing Priorities
In addition to caring for patients one on one, emergency nurses and ENA advocate on a number of issues related to the specialty.
COVID-19 vaccinations have been a priority for Kraus’ presidency. Now, ENA plans a public campaign to encourage people to accept a COVID19 vaccine as a method to end the novel coronavirus pandemic and return to a more normal way of life.
“You trust us any other day to come to the emergency department and care for you,” Kraus said. “Trust us now. The way out of the pandemic is through vaccination.”
The association also has created an educational initiative focused on firearms injury prevention, information to help identify at-risk patients and teach them how to decrease their risk through the safe handling and storage of firearms.
Emergency nurses also are concerned with workplace violence and creating a healthy work environment.
Careers in Emergency Nursing
“Emergency nursing is an opportunity to care for people in what can be a vulnerable time in their lives,” Kraus said. “We have the ability to make an impact and be the first door for healthcare for so many individuals. It’s a blessing.”
Additionally, emergency nurses practice in an environment “full of teamwork and interdisciplinary collaboration in a fast-paced setting,” Kraus said. “It’s an amazing specialty in nursing.”
Careers in emergency nursing are rewarding, keeping nurses challenged, using their critical thinking, clinical and communication skills every shift, every day.
Huge Demand for Emergency Nursing
There remains a high demand for emergency nurses. A search on ZipRecruiter results in more than 400,000 open positions as of early October 2021, including permanent and temporary positions.
NurseFinders also has hundreds of per diem emergency nursing jobs available across the United States.
Kraus suggests acute-care nurses curious about emergency nursing talk with leadership about shadowing an ED nurse to “get an inside look at what goes on in an emergency department” to help in ensuring the change will meet one’s expectations. ENA offers materials to help nurses become more proficient in the specialty.
ENA recently launched ENA University, with the association’s educational materials and resources, including a trauma nursing class and how to precept or be a great charge nurse or nurse manager. ENA past president Patti Kunz Howard, PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN, will serve as ENA University’s first provost and will guide its future development.
“Emergency nurses need the knowledge that gives them the confidence to care and advocate for their patients at the highest levels possible,” Howard said in a statement. “ENA University puts everything ENA has to offer right at their fingertips.”
Those educational courses help emergency nurses stay at the top of their game, ready to care for any patient who comes through the doors.
“We were here for you yesterday, we are here for you today and we want to be here for you tomorrow,” Kraus said.