Emergency Nurse’s Week
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) has been recognizing the second Wednesday in October as Emergency Nurses Day to honor these nurses for their dedication to patient care. In 2001, it expanded the celebration to devote an entire week to these hard-working nurses, because one day just wasn’t enough to recognize all that they do.
In 2018, Emergency Nurse’s Week will take place from October 7th through October 13th, with a special focus on Wednesday, October 10, Emergency Nurses Day. Whether you’re a permanent member of the emergency room staff, or an emergency nurse working in a travel job, celebrating this day is a great way to advocate for the profession, perhaps providing inspiration to others to embark on this career. You may want to share an empowering story on social media using #EmpowerED and #ENWeek, as well as tagging @ENAorg. The ENA also offers lots of great ideas and useful tools to help get the word out on its website.
Other types of nurses, including travel nurses in every specialty, and the countless patients and families of those patients who’ve had encounters with an emergency nurse may want to want to recognize them with a shout out, or a thank you note.
The Many Responsibilities of an Emergency Nurse
Those who don’t work in this field may want to learn more about just what an emergency nurse does. As you probably know, they’re often employed at hospital emergency rooms or trauma centers or other emergency medicine facilities, including cruise ships and prisons. They’re tasked with providing rapid assessment and treating patients during the initial phase of an illness or trauma, often in life-threatening situations.
An emergency nurse specializes in assessing, intervening and stabilizing patients with a wide range of illnesses and trauma requiring decisive action which means they most be knowledgeable about both specific and general health issues. Understanding triage, a method of prioritizing injuries and other physical as well as mental conditions based on medical need is essential, meaning they’ll have to be able to make a quick, accurate assessment of patients, often under pressure.
Becoming an Emergency Nurse
Being an emergency nurse is hard and sometimes emotional work, but also very rewarding. It requires becoming a registered nurse (RN), which means earning either an associate degree in nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and then passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN. Some emergency nurses choose to continue their education, earning a master’s degree and becoming an advance practice nurse.
RNs who want to specialize as an emergency nurse should have some experience in the field first. It’s generally recommended that nurses accrue at least two years of emergency nursing experience priority to seeking Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) certification. There are several types of certifications available, including pediatric emergency (CPEN), flight (CFRN) and critical care ground transport (CTRN).
After gaining certification, emergency nurses typically must continue their education throughout their career, as best practices and technology changes regularly, updated to ensure patients receive the best care possible. A CEN will also need to qualify for re-certification every four years which can be accomplished via qualifying continuing education hours or online testing.
Due to the great need for emergency nurses, once educated, experienced and certified, there is usually little difficulty in securing a permanent or travel job.
Emergency nurses make an incredible difference when every second counts – be sure to get the word out and help recognize all that they do by celebrating Emergency Nurses Week.