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Safety in the Emergency Care Environment

Reduce Violence Against Emergency Nurses

Violence in emergency departments has reached epidemic levels and emergency nurses are particularly vulnerable.  The 24-hour accessibility of the emergency department; the lack of adequately trained, armed or visible security guards; and an overall stressful environment are among the chief reasons why emergency nurses are victims of violence at such a high rate.

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) will continue to advocate for laws that strengthen the criminal penalties for assaulting or battering emergency nurses and other health care workers in emergency departments. ENA will also support legislation and regulations to improve the safety of health care facilities and enhance the training of workers to minimize violence in emergency departments.

Reduce Workplace Injury

Nurses are at risk of harm from the environment in which they work. Factors influencing this situation include ergonomic injuries, needle stick injuries, increasing morbid obesity levels and an aging workforce.

ENA will support federal legislation and programs aimed at reducing workplace injuries and illnesses for health care personnel and patients, while improving the safety of patient care delivery.

Establish Safe Emergency Department Staffing Guidelines

Maintaining the appropriate level of emergency nursing staff is critical to the ability of emergency departments to provide quality health care for patients. 

As such, ENA supports policies that empower nurses to create appropriate staffing plans specific to each emergency department. This approach recognizes the many factors that determine the appropriate level of staffing, as well as the flexibility needed to account for changing circumstances in emergency departments.