Bioterrorism, geriatrics on agenda at emergency nurses meeting

Emergency Nurses Association's annual meeting to run Wednesday through Saturday in San Diego.

With emergency departments (ED) across the country on alert due to continued fears of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil and increased pressures due to the growing number of seniors using the ED for primary care, the nation's emergency nurses will gather this week in San Diego to learn how to best respond to these important issues, discuss difficult challenges facing the profession, and learn about the latest practices and innovations.

"On Sept. 11, 2001, emergency nurses were among the first health care professionals to treat the injured in the wake of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington," said Mary Ellen (Mel) Wilson, RN, president of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), which represents more than 25,000 emergency nurses nationwide.

"With the threat of a terrorist attack still very much a concern in the U.S., emergency nurses continue to grapple with how to best prepare for mass casualty incidents to meet their important role as first responders and patient advocates."

"At the same time, emergency nurses are trying to provide appropriate and optimal care for an increased number of older adults visiting the emergency room with symptoms many emergency nurses haven't dealt with before," 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 aimed at revitalizing skills, enhancing knowledge, and renewing dedication to the profession."

The 34th annual ENA meeting, which begins Wednesday and runs through Saturday, will feature an expanded offering of workshops and interactive courses on pressing topics such as preparing for a bioterrorism attack, proper assessment and care of geriatric
patients, creating 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, and pediatric pathophysiology.

Particularly timely to this year's meeting is a comprehensive 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.

With the older adult population's increasing use of ED services, emergency nurses are seeing more patients with signs and symptoms of depression, dementia, delirium, and immobility. Also at the meeting, a first-of-its-kind course will prepare emergency nurses to approach geriatric nursing in the ED with knowledge, patience, and greater understanding. Attendees will also receive important insights into end-of-life care and learn when it is appropriate to intervene.

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.

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

About the Emergency Nurses Association
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA serves as the
voice of more than 25,000 members and their patients through research, publications, professional development, injury prevention, and patient education.

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