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Emergency Nurses Week - October 7 - 13

Posted on October 10 2018

Happy Emergency Nurses Week to all of the ER nurses, who work around the clock and selflessly devote themselves to their patients. Long hours, exhaustion, and hectic days may arrive, but this week is a celebration dedicated to you all for your hard work and devotion to safe practice and safe care. 

Every year in October -  specifically October 7 - 13 - Emergency Nurses are honored for their tremendous duties of ensuring the health, safety, and well being of all patients who come in to their emergency room.

Every year has a specific theme to it, and this year, the theme for Emergency Nurses week is called: EmpowerED. Emergency nurses are on the front lines when it comes to healthcare, and they always provide their patients with top-notch care. The Emergency Nurses Association has dedicated this week to them as a way of saying thank you.

The theming of EmpowerED encourages ER nurses to think about what it means to be empowered in the emergency department. For some nurses, it's about furthering their education. For others, it's about advocating for the profession. No matter what being EmpowerED means to you, the Emergency Nurses Association wants everyone to help join them in celebrating ER nurses everywhere.

So, what do Emergency Nurses do?

Well, simply put, emergency nurses spend their days doing a multitude of different tasks - especially managing multiple patients, all while keeping a sharp eye out for life-threatening conditions. 

They begin their day with a huddle, where the head nurse and managers hand out assignments and cover the current state of the department. This typically includes how many patients are suicidal, restrained, critically ill, and what is happening in the resuscitation bays. (A resuscitation bay is a special room in the ER department for the sickest patients, and most time sensitive interventions.)

They see anywhere from 10 to 30 patients in their shifts. Since the ER is fast moving, the waiting room can quickly become filled up with 50 or more patients. This leaves the nurse to patient ratio at 1:25, which can sometimes be quite nerve-wracking. These patients are solely relying on the nurse's ability to assess them correctly because a physician does not see patients in the waiting room.

The emergency department has a vital need for focused care and patient flow, which is why ER nurses are trained to recognize life-threatening situations, how to stabilize them, then get that patient to the proper place where they will be cared for long term. Everything in the ER is short term, and fast moving. 

Emergency nurses also have the responsibility of obtaining pertinent information and a plan of care to prepare a report for the physician and oncoming nurse. Every patient an ER nurse sees will have to have an assessment done on them. However, the most important part of emergency nursing is what patient they will see first. Initially, they decide who to see first based off of the report, but then would examine the patient and make that determination themselves. 

ER nurses also hook patients up to a monitor for continuous vital signs, update the whiteboards with their name, make sure their patient has their call light, and as long as their ABCs are intact, they move on to the next patient. Once ER nurses make sure that all of their patients are stable and have any time critical tasks performed, they do their own full assessment of each patient to eliminate issues that are concerning and acute. Each patient who comes into the ER, no matter what, has a neuro, cardiac and respiratory assessment.  

In the ER, a emergency nurse is trying to find out what has changed in the patients life to make them come to be seen. An ER nurse should use their knowledge and judgment on what type of assessment the patient needs, if it is time sensitive, and if it requires the immediate care of a physician who specializes in caring for particular patients. ER nurses specialize in recognizing life threatening conditions, while floor, stepdown, and critical care nurses specialize in the care of those patients.

An ER nurse must be focused all of the time. They must be able to recognize when to dive deeper into a particular assessment and what to ask or be looking for. They need to know how to ask the right questions.

An ER nurse also goes through the many stages of caring for a patient in the ER. They will either be receiving new patients, getting all testing done on patients, admitting patients, monitoring patients, or discharging patients. Any of these stages can happen at any time, and they will likely have multiple patients in different stages throughout the day.

Long story short, Emergency Nurses have quite the responsibilities, which is precisely why they are being honored this week!  

How can you participate in honoring the ER nurses, or celebrate if you are a ER nurse?

  • Say thank you to any ER nurse you know, or come in contact with. Two small words, but they go a long way.
  • Write thank you notes or send a thank you card to the ER nurses that you know, are in your life, or you may not know, but would like to send well wishes anyway.
  • Change your profile picture on social media.
  • Share your empowering stories on social media, and use the hashtags: #ENWeek, #EmpowerED and tag the Emergency Nurses Association by using @ENAorg.

Here at Mountainside Medical, we salute our nurses for their bravery, dedication, hard work, and impeccable focus. If you are a nurse and you are looking for specific medical supplies that you need to carry out your day-to-day tasks, click HERE to see some of high quality products that we carry, or call us at 1-888-637-4334 to speak with one of our friendly staff members.

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