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Emergency Nursing FAQ

Emergency Nursing World ! FAQ

1. What is "Emergency Nursing?"   Emergency Nursing is a specialty in which nurses care for patients in the emergency or critical phase of their illness or injury and are adept at discerning life-threatening problems, prioritizing the urgency of care, rapidly and effectively carrying out resuscitative measures and other treatment, acting with a high degree of autonomy and ability to initiate needed measures without outside direction, educating the patient and his family with the information and emotional support needed to preserve themselves as they cope with a new reality. These activities may be carried out in a variety of settings and not necessarily in an "Emergency Room."

2. Don't all nurses take care of patients in emergencies?   Yes, within their own specialty, nurses should be prepared to take care of foreseeable emergencies. However, Emergency Nurses, are a specialty that spans all others focusing on the time and criticality aspects, as the nurse who first cares for the sudden emergency must be as capable of caring for cancer patients as trauma patients, and of providing "ambulatory care" for lesser or outpatient problems, which have caused a temporary crisis or need for urgent medical care.

3. Isn't "Emergency Nursing" the same as "Trauma Nursing"?   Emergency Nursing comprises all aspects of initial critical care whether applied to trauma-originating problems or those of medical or surgical origin or in the treatment of other specialties such as mental health. In those settings, where there is high focus or numbers of trauma patients, that designation has often been found but reflects a sub-specialty narrowing of view or clientele. "Trauma Nurse" has also been used to describe the days or weeks of intensive-care nursing of trauma patients in hospital; yet while these are part of the spectrum of care from injury to recovery, ---it is an "Emergency Nurse" who provides the initial care, resuscitation, and management so that the patient, whether ill or injured, is able to survive to the next phase of his "spectrum of care." [Click for ENA Definition of Emergency Nursing & Society of Trauma Nurses Definition of Trauma Nursing]

4. How is "Emergency Nursing" different from other nursing?   An Emergency Nurse is characterized by high degrees of knowledge and skills, with diagnostic and decision-making power to effectuate urgently needed activities in autonomous fashion or in the closely-collaborative team approach with other health professionals. Typically, an Emergency Nurse is capable of providing a broad spectrum of skills that in other settings would be delegated to other health care workers. Without disregarding the critical activities, Emergency Nurses commonly triage and treat less urgent problems, providing care and treatment of those injuries or illnesses, and providing the educational and psychosocial evaluations and support to return the patient successfully to his milieu.

5. Are there other aspects of Emergency Nursing that are different from other nursing specialties?   The Emergency Nurse typically works with patients who are not yet diagnosed, may have new problems not previously perceived, is not yet accustomed to the institutional environment, is still struggling to deal with a new reality of illness or injury, who may have an element of uncertainty to their problem, and who may have intoxicants or other behavioral barriers to effective diagnosis or treatment. The Emergency Nurse is at "the front line" of the hospital's contact with the community. The environment and patient situations are dynamic. There is some risk of personal harm from situations that are not yet completely controlled. The Emergency Nurse may need to assess and provide guidance for patients who call for "advice" or who have not yet arrived in the Emergency Department. The Emergency Nurse must also be sensitive and skilled in discerning the patient's educational needs to understand and care for the problem and be a successful and supportive teacher under less-than-ideal conditions. Likewise, the Emergency Nurse must be similarly talented with psychosocial problems and be knowledgeable of available community resources and able to implement them.

6. What is the preparation and training of an Emergency Nurse?   Emergency Nursing has drawn nurses from many backgrounds and specialties, and the rich eclecticism this brings gives vitality and useful support for colleagues. Often, there has been a strong medical-surgical, critical-care, or cardiac background, however, with good support new graduates have succeeded in Emergency Nursing. The focus is on broad clinical knowledge, excellent skills, flexible and adaptable approach, and strong inter-personal and teaching ability. Certification courses in adult and child advanced life support, and core-curricula in Emergency Nursing and in Trauma are useful. A good Emergency Nurse continues education and training throughout the career. Advanced degrees are available for those who wish to pursue a career as a Clinical Nurse Specialist or Nurse Practitioner, or who intend to teach or conduct research.

7. Is there a certification of specialty knowledge?   CEN or Certified Emergency Nurse is a distinction that may be earned by examination to show possession of a body of knowledge commensurate with competent practice that is awarded by The Board of Certification in Emergency Nursing to qualifying nurses from the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; BCEN is committed to the vision of international certification. CFRN or Certified Registered Flight Nurse may be earned by those nurses who provide care in the aviation environment.

8. Is there a professional organization for Emergency Nursing?   In the United States of America, the professional organization of the specialty is the Emergency Nurses Association. There are other organizations in other countries.

The Emergency Nursing World ! FAQ

A. What is "Emergency Nursing World !"?   ENW is a web-site which was begun by a working emergency nurse to be an Internet resource for emergency nurses throughout the world.

B. What does ENW do?   It seeks to provide a world resource for the informational needs of Emergency Nurses, a repository and means of communication for practice-based concerns in emergency nursing, and a forum for sharing and discussing methods or issues among all health professionals involved in the care of emergency patients whether hospital-based or pre-hospital, including in-hospital definitive care specialists.

C. Who can contribute to ENW?   Any Emergency Nurse, or professional involved in the care of emergency patients at any point in the spectrum of care, with information to share that is useful to emergency nurses can submit articles and data.

D. Is ENW commercial?   No. ENW is non-commercial. It does not accept advertising, provide endorsements, or sell mailing-lists. It receives no subsidies or sponsorship.

E. Is ENW recognized for what it does or is its materials used elsewhere?   ENW has received compliments and praise from many individuals. It is linked on a number of other web sites that provide or catalog medical resources on the web. Some articles have been reprinted for training purposes.

F. What is the ENW Emergency Nursing COOL Web-Find?  No longer awarded, The Emergency Nursing COOL Web-Find is a Distinction awarded by ENW to exemplary web resources of usefulness to emergency nurses. This is done to feature well-done sites to emergency nurses, to foster the use of the Internet by nurses and emergency nurses, to encourage Internet publishing among nurses and emergency nurses, and to bring awareness of emergency nursing as a potential target audience to providers of medical content on the Internet.

G. How does ENW serve other specialties and professions?   ENW serves other specialties as their patients with an emergency or health care episodic need are better served by emergency nurses who are well-informed and can rapidly access the data or resources within those specialties which is needed. ENW serves as a pointer to the best within each specialty and promotes emergency nurses as a target audience. Many occupational groups may be involved in caring for emergency patients and the patient is best served if all involved in his care understand each other and work cooperatively. 

H. "I'm doing research on _____" "Do you have statistics on _____?" "Can you advise me on educational plans or how to get a job?"   ENW does not have a database of statistics or industry trends. Since the editor is a working nurse, there is little time or means to do such research for others even though I might wish every success to the project. If interesting data are submitted and would be of use or general interest to the readership, ENW will save or post such data if in electronic form [i.e. there is no scanner], or post a link to its Internet availability if copyright protection requires. ENW will provide some links to educational institutions and to job-finding resources, but is unable to provide specific advice in such instances.

I. "I'd like to correspond with a pen pal . . . "   No lists or open sources of ENW readership are kept. If there is sufficient interest in maintaining a public list of this sort, ENW will work on one.

J. "Is it possible to reprint an article from ENW ?"   Yes, it is often possible to reprint material for nursing and educational purposes. Please e-mail us to find out. Some material, however, may be under the copyright of a different author.

K. "CAL-ENA's web page seems to be at your site; why is that?"   In support of CAL-ENA, help has been given in preparing and facilitating its web presence. Each page will maintain separate identity and be responsible only for its own content. Minimal interlinking will be provided for convenience only.

L. "What is the correct way to show ENW's name?"  Emergency Nursing World !

There are four elements to ENW's name:  Emergency, Nursing, World, and !   representing
Emergency = the nature of the work we do,
Nursing = the professional approach that we bring to it,
World = the setting and variety of it and the global nature of Internet communication,
! = the intensive and imperative nature of our responses to these emergencies.
These elements are italicized (and underlined whenever possible) to emphasize the motion, purposefulness, and energy of our actions.
There is a full space setting off and separating the exclamation mark.
Our color scheme is teal green, gold, and red.

M.  "How should I correctly cite ENW as a reference from the Internet when footnoting?"   A style acceptable for academic papers would be: Author's Last Name, First Name; Title of Document; URL of Document; Type of Medium; Document date and copyright; Name of Site (if applicable); URL of site if different from above; Accessed Day Month Year

Trimble, Tom, RN
"Action Plan For Airway Hell!"

Web Article from  Emergency Nursing World !
June 24, 1998

"The Emergency Nursing FAQ" is provided by
Emergency Nursing World ! [http://ENW.org]

"The Emergency Nursing World ! FAQ" is provided by
Emergency Nursing World ! [http://ENW.org]
Tom Trimble, RN [[email protected]]


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