The Emergency Nurses Association Family TodayThe interesting thing about the “way it was” is how nothing ever goes back to the “way it was” when the world goes through something as dramatic as we’ve seen since the pandemic hit us in early 2020. Most of us remember what air travel was like before September 11, yet we’ve learned to coexist with what it takes to get on a plane in the past 21 years.
2022: A Year in ReviewThe year has come to an end. I have had the pleasure of serving in the role of Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) President during a time in which circumstances have been challenging and incredibly rewarding. At the beginning of the year, in January, I was unsure what to expect as world events continued to evolve. Turns out, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience serving the members of this association. As I’ve said time and again, this year has truly been the highlight of my career in emergency nursing.
Networking, Education, and an Opportunity for InnovationWe have reached the time that the Emergency Nurses Association is hosting our Emergency Nursing 2022 conference, which is taking place this year from September 30th to October 3rd in Denver, Colorado. This annual event is one of great value to emergency nurses for expanding their knowledge, networking with colleagues, and being provided a general opportunity to recharge. This year, these reasons for attending are more important than ever as nurses continue to seek new ways to reconnect to our profession.
An Improved Perspective on Courage in Leadership and Embracing New ExperiencesAs I sit and ponder what readers will want to hear from me when my President’s Message is published nearly 3 months after I write it, I hope that the words that I write today will resonate with emergency nurses. That hope is what sparked my message for this issue of the journal. This year, a true pinnacle of my career, has been moving at lightning speed. At the end of 2021, I was unsure of how I would perform in the role of Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) President and, honestly, felt a bit like an imposter.
Recharging Through Advocacy and Support of LegislationWe are nearly halfway through 2022 and continuing to support emergency nurses in so many ways. Springtime for the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) means our annual day on the hill. This day, and general time of year, means that we are able to go to Washington, DC, to advocate for issues that are relevant to our work and to the patients for whom we care. I sincerely look forward to this opportunity to share ENA’s priorities with as many legislators as possible.
The Path Ahead and the Promise of the FutureIt is an incredible honor to be the incoming 2022 ENA President and one I never dreamed would be a reality for me. Often, we don’t see what may be possible in our future when we’re busy standing in the moment. I’m here now as proof you can create your own path and do anything you desire.
Stay Positive and Keep the StrengthIn my first President’s Message, I introduced my theme for the year: ELEVATE. I challenged all of us to elevate some aspect of our lives, our careers, our profession, our colleagues, and our community. As we read this message and reflect on the past year, have we met that challenge? A quote from Jim Rohn, “Commit yourself to something bigger than yourself,” helps me to stay focused to elevate. We all experienced the major challenges of 2021, many unexpected, just as in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.
Reunite… Reflect… RechargeI have been personally looking forward to many of us coming together again at EN21X for exceptional education, working in general assembly to further our association, reuniting with friends, making new friends, having fun, and recharging. Reunited, and it feels so good! That is a line from the 1978 hit song by Peaches and Herb, and that phrase is what I have been humming as we prepare to gather in-person and virtually at EN21X. EN21X will be a reunion of emergency nursing professionals who will be able to share the experiences of the pandemic over the last 18 months.
Looking to the 12 Points of the Scout Law as InspirationHere we are halfway through 2021 and my year as president of the Emergency Nurses Association. I got the inspiration for this President's Message topic as I was helping my son complete his Eagle Scout project. This message is written from the lens of my youth, my experience in scouting and some key components that factored into who I am today. I would like to acknowledge that the Scouts organization does have a past history of inequities and want to acknowledge the movement of the organization to be more inclusive.
The Courage to be VulnerableIn my first presidential message, I introduced us all to my theme and challenge for 2021—To Elevate. A challenge to improve ourselves, our profession, our colleagues, and our communities around us. The March message discussed burnout and moral injury and the impact they can have on all of us and our profession. This May issue, I am addressing a topic that can help elevate many aspects of our lives as well as help mitigate burnout and moral injury.
Hope—We Are Seeing a Light at the End of the TunnelI am writing my second message as the president of the Emergency Nurses Association. At the time of my writing, we are at the close of 2020. A year that seemed like a lifetime—2020. A year that cast many shadows on our lives and left many of us with feelings of uncertainty and fear. Fortunately, we are experiencing some hope now that the first coronavirus disease vaccine has been administered to frontline health care workers around the world. At the time of your reading this message, I am hopeful that we are getting close to or actually vaccinating the general public.
2021…Time to ElevateAs I sit down to write my first president’s message, our world is still in the middle of fighting a pandemic caused by coronavirus disease 2019; we are strife with societal and political issues around the world; many are fighting for equality; and in the United States, the atmosphere is politically charged. All of these issues have had a major impact on our lives in some aspect.
One Person Can Truly Make a DifferenceIt is truly hard to believe that I am sitting here writing my final president’s message to you all. It is a bittersweet moment to take in; however, it is also a great time of reflection. As 2020 ends, we reflect on what the year has brought us. We all knew that 2020 was going to be a big year as we anticipated celebrating the Emergency Nurses Association’s 50th anniversary, along with 2020 being designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Reflecting on Our Duty as Nurses This YearThis year has been a roller coaster ride for emergency departments across our country and internationally. As we reflect on what 2020 has been, most of us think about the global pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, many emergency departments have faced additional disasters both before COVID-19 and also while dealing with COVID-19.
Caring for Victims of ViolenceAs emergency nurses, we are at the frontline of the health care system and are the safety net of our communities. We truly see and care for many patients who have not received care elsewhere. We all know that nursing school provides us the foundation to be a nurse; however, few say that nursing school prepares us to actually be an EMERGENCY nurse. That only comes with experience. In the emergency department we care for patients across the entire lifespan, including any element that faces us: from the baby we just delivered, the pediatric patient with reactive airway disease, the victim of violence, the behavioral health patient, or the victim of sexual assault, to the patient taking his/her last breath.
The Power of Self-CompassionIn the emergency department or other emergency care settings, there is very little downtime. Contrary to inferences made by my state representatives that nurses relax and play cards during shifts, we all know the reality of our care settings. We are required to work hard with limited resources every day. We are the safety net for our communities, and we address all patients that present to us, whatever the circumstances, because, unlike other hospital units, the emergency department has no cap for census.
Advocating for PracticeEmergency nursing faces many challenges. Never has it been more important that the voice of emergency nursing be heard. Nursing’s collective voice is essential to ensure that our patients, interprofessional colleagues, and the public recognize the difference the nursing profession makes on clinical outcomes. Emergency nurses made an impact on reauthorization of the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMS-C) legislation earlier this year with Day on the Hill visits and testimony at a House of Representatives Health Subcommittee hearing (Figure).
Emergency Care Policy and a Rare Condition: The Impact of TechnologyAfter I testified at a Congressional subcommittee in support of the Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMS-C) reauthorization in June, a listener reached out to contact me. She had originally tuned in to the livestream to listen to a physician’s testimony in support of another house bill, the “Newborn Screening Saves Lives” reauthorization act. This mother shared the story of her son Travis, who had isolated congenital asplenia (ICA). Having never heard of ICA I went to the website in her e-mail ( www.team4travis.org ) to learn more.
Caring for our Past, Present, and FutureMy dad was once left unattended in an ED treatment space on a stretcher with the side rails down. This situation is concerning in and of itself, but when considering his chief complaint—an aura that predicted he was going to have a seizure—it is clear that leaving him in that condition was quite simply poor judgment. About a year prior to this day, he had experienced a posterior hemisphere intracerebral hemorrhage. After his recovery and rehabilitation, an aura appeared prior to the occurrence of a complex tonic-clonic seizure.
Making an Impact: Injury Prevention is a PriorityInjury prevention is an important aspect of emergency nursing practice and should be a care priority for our patients, families, and each other. It is the position of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) that “emergency nurses, as members of the frontline care team, are poised to lead in the prevention of injury through evidence-based education, public education, and healthcare advocacy.”1 Ensuring that each emergency nurse has the knowledge and ability to proactively address injury prevention is essential.
Serving and Leading, an Emergency Nurse’s LegacyServing others is an inherent part of the emergency nursing role. It can be exasperating at times when it seems as though our patients believe we are there to wait on them. I choose to view our opportunity to serve others as an honor. We are there to advocate, intervene, educate, and ensure they receive exceptional care. As emergency nurses we are the ones our patients and their families trust the most.
Much to AccomplishA new year, a new ENA logo, a new national office. The beginning of many “firsts.” There is much to accomplish for our patients, families and each other. Emergency nurses are no strangers to competing priorities in their practice environments. Translating this to our personal lives can be challenging. How do emergency nurses find the time for personal downtime, personal development, or professional involvement? Often we put ourselves last on the to-do list. The time has come to change our thinking in order to be at our best.
Dreams Are the Foundation of the Future—But Dreams Realized Are the Foundation of SuccessThis will be my final editorial for the Journal of Emergency Nursing as the President of ENA. What an amazing experience this journey has been, affording me opportunities that few get to experience and the chance to meet thousands of our members, each of whom has energized me in one way or another.
We are Simply a Part of a Long Rich History…In the past few weeks, ENA moved into its new office in Schaumburg, Illinois. Did you know that this is ENA’s seventh home since its inception in 1970? Our first office was in New York, but moved to Lansing, Michigan in 1972 then relocated to Illinois in 1977. Although ENA has been headquartered in the Chicago area since 1977, we have been in four various locations including downtown Chicago (East Ohio Street and North Lake Shore Drive), Park Ridge (Higgins Road) and of course, most recently in Des Plaines (Lee Street).
Caring for Each Other While We Care for OthersI was recently in a setting with some of my nurse colleagues when one of them began to display bullying behavior to another. It immediately brought back memories of my first job in the emergency department when I also was the recipient of nurse-to-nurse lateral violence. Carol, one of the experienced nurses in the department, continuously ridiculed me, made me feel like I was not adequate as a nurse and even went so far as to have me reported me to the Board of Nursing.