ENA President Jennifer Schmitz Statement on Key Emergency Nursing Issues

February 18, 2022 Advocacy Emergency Nurses Association Healthy Work Environment Staffing Workplace Violence

ENA President Jennifer Schmitz released the following message today about issues currently faced by emergency nurses

"Emergency nurses, ENA hears you.

At every turn lately, you have been repeatedly pushed to, and beyond, your limit. COVID-19 continues to test your resolve as you’ve watched co-workers burn out and leave jobs they love. Emergency departments across the country are operating in unsustainable ways that put pressure on nurses and could jeopardize the care we provide.

The pandemic era has only magnified issues with staffing, work environments and workplace violence, problems we all know have persisted in the emergency department for far too long.

We cannot accept any of this as normal.

ENA has never lost sight of these significant concerns. ENA’s commitment to care also means a commitment to seeking out solutions. ENA is focused on effecting systemic changes that benefit ED nurses in the long term, while being mindful of the opportunities to drive immediate improvements during this difficult time.

The road to better is for us to work together. To get there, ENA believes:

  • Hospital leaders need to invest in their nurses by focusing on retention. Work conditions, safety, culture and pay disparities are key components that are critical to attract nurses to, and keep nurses from leaving, the emergency department. This is an opportunity for hospitals to create an environment where nurses feel valued in terms of personal financial compensation and institutional investment.
  • Nurses need to be heard. Amid the turmoil we see around us right now, it is heartening to know emergency nurses are speaking up to raise awareness about what is happening and how it relates to the communities they serve. No matter whether ENA formally endorses a particular group or action, the association is appreciative of all who support nurses.
  • To establish proper staffing levels, ED nurses must be part of the planning discussions. ENA has stood firm in its position that, to provide the highest level of patient care, each ED must decide its staffing needs considering its own unique circumstances. ENA supports evidence-based methods to determine staffing levels.
  • The association’s advocacy efforts remain a powerful tool to drive change. ENA is proud of its strong history as a national leader on the issues of workplace violence and nurse mental health and well-being. ENA remains focused on working with legislators who take action to support emergency nurses and other important health care issues. ENA will continue to assess all relevant legislation impacting the emergency nursing community.

As an emergency nurse for 20 years, I understand how quickly frustration can set in when the world starts to swirl around you and it feels like no one cares.

ENA cares, and it takes very seriously its responsibility to members and the larger emergency nursing community. For 51 years, the association has had your back because you trust ENA to provide guidance and leadership.

The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing 2020-2030 report put it best when it stated, “Ensuring nurse well-being is not just good for nurses … it is essential for the health and safety of patients, the functioning of health systems, and the financial health of health care organizations.”

I encourage all of you to continue to use your voice, advocate for our profession and help us see our way out of the challenges caused by the pandemic. As we have asked of the public, I ask you to hear and trust that emergency nurses have the support of ENA now and into the future."

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.