In 1968, Anita M. Dorr, RN and Judith C. Kelleher, RN, working at opposite sides of the United States, perceived a need for nurses involved in emergency health care to pool their resources in order to set standards and develop improved methods of effective emergency nursing practice. In addition, they wished to provide continuing education programs for emergency nurses as well as a united voice for nurses involved in emergency care.
By 1970, Ms. Dorr had formed the Emergency Room Nurses Organization on the east coast and Ms. Kelleher had formed the Emergency Department Nurses Association on the west coast. The two groups joined forces and the Association was initially incorporated as the Emergency Department Nurses Association (EDNA) in Rochester, New York on December 1, 1970. The first National Association meeting was held in New York in 1971.
In 1985, the Association name was changed to Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), recognizing the practice of emergency nursing as role-specific rather than site-specific.
Originally aimed at teaching and networking, the organization has evolved into an authority, advocate, lobbyist, and voice for emergency nursing. The ENA has nearly 40,000+ members and continues to grow, with members representing over 35 countries around the world.