ENA’s Commitment to Nurse Staffing Improvements

October 26, 2022 Emergency Nurses Association Healthy Work Environment Staffing


On Wednesday, ENA released the following statement relating to nurse staffing.

Nearly every week, another survey, study or media report paints a dire picture about the future of nurse staffing.

ENA and its members recognize the realities of what is happening. Data from the 2022 NSI National Health Care Retention and RN Staffing Report showed an increase in nursing job vacancy rate in 2021, a 29 percent turnover rate among emergency nurses in 2021 and an average hospital turning over 95 percent of its nursing workforce in the previous five years.

As startling as anything, 29 percent of emergency nurses surveyed by the American Nurse Foundation earlier this year said they planned to leave their job. Their reasons match up to what you are experiencing firsthand – the job’s negative impact on mental health and well-being; insufficient staffing; and lack of employer support.

These issues and how they are driving nurses out of the emergency department fuel great concern over emergency department operations and, most importantly, patient safety and care.

ENA members rely on the association to be there for them during times like this, which is why ENA is focused on seeking the long-term solutions that provide systemic change to better recruit and retain emergency nurses, while also exploring more immediate actions to help support nurses coping with today’s struggles.

  • Nursing Recruitment: Staffing must be viewed holistically, which is why the pipeline of new nurses coming into the ED is so important, especially given the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projection that an additional 275,000 nurses will be needed by 2030. ENA strongly supports the Future Advancement of Academic Nursing Act, which, among other things, calls for a $1 billion investment in U.S. nursing schools to enhance enrollment and retention of nursing students, and recruitment of nurse faculty. Also, ENA and its partners are requesting $324 million for Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Programs which are key in growing the pipeline of nurses.
  • Investing in New Nurses: Attracting nurses to the emergency department – whether recent graduates or those transferring from other departments – is one thing, keeping them is another, especially with the rate of nurses leaving the ED within five years. Through its new Emergency Nurse Residency Program, and with a focus toward improving ED nurse retention rates, ENA has increased its emphasis on the initial education, training and socioclinical environment acclimation nurses need at the start of their careers. More than two dozen hospitals have already partnered with ENA this year to bring this game-changing program into their emergency departments, a strong sign of their investment in their ED nurses.
  • Healthy Work Environment: Safety, culture and well-being are key components that motivate nurses to stay in the ED. ENA takes a holistic approach to improving the ED environment by providing education and resources that support nurse self-care, while also providing guidance to ED leaders that helps them make improvements to the culture and environment without compromising the quality of patient care. Personal safety is the highest priority, which is why ENA continues its push for the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act and remaining committed to the No Silence on ED Violence campaign to raise awareness about this vital issue.
  • Staffing Levels: ENA recognizes each ED has its own variables that impact the needs of emergency nurses. ENA believes staffing should be driven by patient care standards and the quality of nurses’ skills, in addition to the quantity of emergency nurses. ENA supports evidence-based approaches to determining safe staffing levels for appropriate nursing and patient outcomes.
  • The Emergency Nursing Career Journey: ENA seeks to empower emergency nurses to get the most out of their careers at the bedside and beyond. Reimagining emergency nursing career paths can bolster retention rates by showing nurses the many ways they can impact quality patient care. ENA plans to facilitate retention opportunities that keep ED nurses at the bedside, while also supporting emergency nurses throughout their educational, practice and leadership journeys through mentoring and other resources focused on professional development.

As the global leader in emergency nursing, ENA seeks to address the overarching trend of ED nurses leaving their jobs – and the underlying causes for it – as a top priority. A commitment to patient care, support for its members and advancing excellence in emergency nursing is what drives ENA to find the solutions that will shape a better today and a strong future for all emergency nurses.

- ENA President Jennifer Schmitz, MSN, EMT-P, CEN, CPEN, CNML, FNP-C, NE-BC

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.