ENA Board Approves Firearm Safety and Injury Prevention Position Statement
March 1, 2019 • News Position Statement
Statement highlights actions focused on reducing firearm-related deaths and injuries
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (March 1, 2019) - On Thursday, the Emergency Nurses Association Board of Directors unanimously approved an updated position statement encouraging increased firearm-related research, education and focus on safety enhancements.
The Firearm Safety and Injury Prevention position statement calls for the use of screening tools to assist in the identification of individuals at high risk for death or injury caused by a firearm; urges the lifting of restrictions on research into firearm-related deaths and funding for such research; requests an extension of the National Violent Death Reporting System to include all U.S. states and territories; and backs the implementation of technology to make firearms safer, as well as to promote the distribution of existing safety devices to firearms owners.
"In emergency departments across the country, emergency nurses and their health care colleagues see the damage caused by firearms on a daily basis," ENA President Patricia Kunz Howard, PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN. "ENA has long been an advocate for firearm safety and injury prevention, as well as responsible gun ownership and safe storage of firearms. This position statement recognizes the undeniable need to take steps to reduce the number of people who die or suffer life-altering injuries due to firearms."
The position statement - which was created based on a resolution presented by member delegates during the association’s General Assembly in 2017 - is the latest effort by ENA to address the epidemic of firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States.
In December, the board approved the release of a new topic brief which includes strategies for reducing firearm-related deaths and injuries through patient education and encouraging safe storage of firearms. Earlier this year, ENA researchers released the results of a study that found emergency nurses need better education on the importance of assessing patients for firearms in the home and with how to inquire about the topic in a nonjudgmental, nonconfrontational manner.
The paper, "Emergency Nurses' Perception of Risk for Firearm Injury and Its Effect on Assessment Practices: A Mixed Methods Study" highlights the critical need for emergency nurses to identify at-risk patients in order to implement mitigating interventions. The study was published in the January issue of Journal of Emergency Nursing.
Researchers found injury from firearms is a significant problem in the United States, accounting for 73 percent of all homicides and 50 percent of all suicides that occurred. What has been unknown are the perceptions of emergency nurses regarding the impact of in-home access on the risk for firearm-related injury and death to their patient populations, and their ability to assess and intervene to ensure patient safety.