Emergency nursing shortage is worsening because of changing patient demographics and the aging of the emergency nurses population

As emergency departments across the country face increasing pressure from a nursing shortage and overcrowding, the nation’s emergency nurses will gather in San Diego Sept. 29 – Oct. 2, to seek opportunities to improve patient care, discuss ways to alleviate the difficult issues facing the profession, and learn about latest practices and innovations.

“The emergency nursing shortage is worsening because of changing patient demographics and the aging of the emergency nurses population,” said Mary Ellen (Mel) Wilson, RN, president of the Emergency Nurses Association, which represents nearly 25,000 emergency nurses nationwide. “At the same time, emergency nurses are trying to provide the best care for the increased number of patients in the emergency department, they’re also grappling with how to prepare for mass casualty incidents.”

“These issues take center stage at the annual meeting,” Wilson added. “In San Diego, emergency nurses will learn specialized skills and management techniques to ensure quality care in a multitude of emergency settings. The sessions are designed to revitalize skills, enhance knowledge, and renew dedication to the profession.”

The 34th annual ENA meeting will feature an expanded offering of workshops and interactive courses on pressing topics such as ways to reverse the current nursing shortage, how to create an environment that promotes patient safety, and the growing problem of emergency department overcrowding. More than 70 clinical sessions will cover issues ranging from pain management and injury prevention strategies, to stroke management, brain trauma, pediatric pathophysiology, and geriatric emergency care.

Particularly timely to this year’s meeting is a pre-session course being offered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Domestic Preparedness. “Hospital Emergency Management: Concepts and Implications of Weapons of Mass Destruction” takes attendees through the process of assessing, preparing for, and responding to the medical, physical, and economic risks and challenges associated with terrorism involving weapons of mass destruction.

The 2004 ENA Annual Meeting exhibit hall will feature hundreds of product exhibits showcasing equipment, technology, and clinical resources used in the nation’s emergency rooms, such as bandages and dressings, pain monitoring systems, wheelchairs, exam tables, stethoscopes, and much more.

For more information on the 2004 ENA Annual Meeting, visit the ENA Web site at www.ena.org, or call (800) 243-8362.

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