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Americans Say Trips to the ED are Better Thanks to Nurses; New Survey Shows Nurses are Unsung Heroes of Nation’s Emergency Depts.


CHICAGO, Oct. 10 -- The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) today announced the results of the first survey of American perceptions of emergency nursing care. The survey, which is being released as part of Emergency Nurses Week, Oct. 9-15, reveals 70 percent of Americans believe emergency nurses are the unsung heroes of the emergency department and equally as important to patient care as emergency physicians.

“This survey is the first to adequately illustrate that nurses and physicians are of equal importance to patient care,” said ENA president Patricia Kunz Howard, PhD, RN, CEN. “Nurses see hundreds of patients in a week and still manage to spend more time with them than any other hospital staff member. Emergency nurses combine their genuine compassion with medical expertise to help patients feel less anxious and more comfortable. For patients, the nurse is often the ’human presence’ in the emergency department.”

The survey also found:

-- Nine out of ten emergency department patients were satisfied with the services provided by nurses during their last hospital visit and 65 percent were “very satisfied”

-- More than 80 percent of patients believe emergency nurses are good communicators and are able to explain medical procedures.

-- More than 80 percent of patients believe emergency nurses have good bedside manners (82 percent), are responsive and attentive to their needs (81 percent) and show genuine concern for their well-being (80 percent).

-- Seventy-nine percent of emergency department patients believe emergency nurses to have broad medical knowledge.

These findings surface as disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami, and the recent bombings in London illustrate the critical need for emergency medical personnel as frontline providers of the nation’s healthcare and the rising concern surrounding decreasing numbers of emergency nurses and emergency departments. Emergency department visits are up 12 percent this year, while there is a 12 percent reduction in the number of emergency departments across the country, significantly compounding the nursing shortage.

“It is a compliment to our nation’s emergency nurses that patient satisfaction is on the rise despite daily battles with a national nursing shortage and emergency department crowding,” said Howard. “Emergency nurses are everyday heroes who have been instrumental in improving emergency department visits for patients and families. They deliver expert medical care to our patients while facilitating comfort and security through their ability to communicate medical procedures, effectively minimizing medical errors and boosting patient safety in the emergency department.”

The survey, conducted by TSC/Yankelovich Inc., investigated the perceptions of 875 individuals who had visited a hospital emergency department in the past 12 months.

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 28,000 members and their patients through research, publications, professional development, injury prevention, and patient education. Additional information is available at ENA’s Web site,

About Emergency Nurses Week

Each October, the ENA honors the courage, skill, and commitment of the nation’s estimated 100,000 emergency nurses who bring care and compassion to patients and their loved ones. “Everyday Heroes: This Is Your Time To Shine” is the theme of Emergency Nurses Week, Oct. 9-15, 2005 (Emergency Nurses Day is Oct. 12).

Survey Design, Methodology

Yankelovich administered this survey for ENA via telephone during August 2005. A total of 2,000 respondents were screened, using CARAVAN telephone survey. A total of 875 adults 18 and older qualified as having been to a hospital emergency department in the past 12 months. Survey questions were developed in conjunction with the Emergency Nurses Association. Significance testing has been conducted at the 95 percent confidence level.


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