Emergency Nursing Week 2017
Throughout human existence, a need for 'emergency nursing' has always existed. Whether provided by fellow warriors or caregivers in the family grouping, care for wounds and illness was an ad hoc thing. With increasing size and complexity of society and the injuries appertaining thereto, the advancement of medical arts and organization to increase the potential of recovery, emergency nursing no longer can be done by anybody's mom or an army's camp-follower. Nor can any generally trained nurse deal with the spectrum of emergency care without specialized education and training.
There are other specialties in nursing, which indicate preparation for a limited spectrum of care or discipline, and its own emergencies. However, what is unique in Emergency Nurses, is the ability to confront, decisively and actively, any emergency, regardless of medical specialty; to do so instantly, and without initial direction. They are focused in time and criticality of all fields. No other specialty 'takes on all comers' with undifferentiated problems in this way.
Just as nurses in the emergency department were at times the only long-service employees and provided guidance to inexperienced physician-trainees, the specialty has now evolved to include advanced practice roles as Licensed Independent Practitioners able to render diagnosis and treatment through the entire episode of care.
I can recall when a major metropolitan hospital had an unattended "First Aid Room" to which one's personal physician or a resident might be called should one come to the hospital with a problem. Or another, at which the ambulance crew would have to call the hospital's telephone operator to send someone to unlock the door at night. Or municipal "Emergency Hospitals" (free treatment rooms with a doctor and nurse, attached to an ambulance station) that also locked the doors at night.
Clearly, the numbers of patients, varieties of problems, severity of injury or illness, and expectation of immediate expert care regardless of availability of a personal physician have increased like an avalanche since the years following World War II. Indeed, wars have set the example for emergency medical services and specialized care that are now adapted to civilian life and the needs just mentioned.
The Emergency Nurses Association has, with the 'can do' spirit of its founders and members, developed and supported the mission and growth of emergency nursing. I am proud of what we do, and what ENA does and who it represents.
Emergency Nursing Week and Emergency Nursing Day honor and celebrate these nurses, their work, their transformation and development of the specialty, "for being resourceful and masterful in their work."
Trimble, Tom, RN. (1997) The Emergency Nursing FAQ and Emergency Nursing World ! FAQ. Emergency Nursing World ! [http://ENW.org] © 1997 Tom Trimble, RN.
Schriver, J. A., Talmadge, R., Chuong, R. and Hedges, J. R. (July 2003), Emergency Nursing: Historical, Current, and Future Roles. Academic Emergency Medicine, 10: 798–804. doi:10.1197/aemj.10.7.798 [PDF]
Schriver, J. A., Talmadge, R., Chuong, R., & Hedges, J. R. (October 2003). Emergency nursing: historical, current, and future roles. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 29(5), 431-439. [PDF]
Fadale, J. M. (2000). As we celebrate: reflections on Anita Dorr and early ENA days. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 26(1), 31-34. [PDF]
Jezierski, M. (1996). Anita Dorr: her legacy to ENA. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 22(3), 258-260. [PDF]
Kelleher, J. (2000). A conversation with ENA co-founder, Judy Kelleher, RN, MSN, CEN. Interview by Iris C Frank. Journal of emergency nursing: JEN: official publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association, 26(1), 35. [PDF]
Emergency Nurses Association. (No Author) (2017) Emergency Nurses Week.
Tom Trimble, RN
All opinions are solely those of the author.
Readers must verify validity to their own practice.