Emergency Nurses Association: Organizational and Systems Leadership in Nursing

The American professional organization that represents the nursing field in the emergency department was founded in 1970, known as the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). The purpose of the organization is to lead the future of emergency nursing through education, research, innovation, advocacy and leadership. According to the ENA, their mission is to “advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing practice”(2019a, para. 1). According to the ENA (2019a), they envision themselves as being great advocates for safe practice and care along with being a worldwide resource for emergency nurses (ENA, 2019a). ENA members are well trained in all aspect of emergency care to ensure the delivery of safe, evidence-based practice, and high-quality care for all patients.

ENA has a five years strategic plan called the 2020 vision that guides their organization. It is comprised of five strong pillars: knowledge, advocacy, quality and safety, community, and infrastructure. Each one carries a vision statement and goal of the ENA’s highest value on their members. They acknowledge their members for contributing to the best patient care and nursing profession. For the community, the ENA is known as the premier and authority membership organization for the emergency nursing community. Their goal is to support emergency nursing colleagues across the nation and to work on outreach programs for students to learn about emergency nursing care as well as empowering emergency nurses from varied practices setting by expanding their education and advocacy agenda and resources. The ENA encourages new ideas and knowledge of nurses by funding their research and collaboration. They define the standards for quality and safety through evidence-based safe practice, task-oriented and safe care. The organization also participates in legislative and regulatory issues impacting community to promote patient safety and excellent care. The ENA invests and utilizes their resources in people, technology, and facilities to support the development and delivery of their objectives, goals and advancement to their mission, vision, and values (ENA, 2019c).

There are 50 state councils and more than 174 local chapters in the ENA. State councils determine the structure, role, and decision-making at the state level. It’s chartered by the organization to implement its objectives, philosophy, and leadership. Local chapters’ plans and decisions are aligned with each of their State Councils. They are accountable for managing professional events directed by the State Council. Not all states have state council, therefore, many members’ first exposure to the ENA is offered through the local chapter. This is where their members can learn about what the ENA can offer. Each state and local chapter hold their meetings and activities on different dates, places, and time. All members have the chance to participate in both local and state events immediately upon joining the organization (ENA, 2019g).

The ENA leaders focus on managing affairs and working towards the goal of the organization. They determine policies and oversee rules and regulation that impact the decisions in business and financial matters. There are twelve members in ENA Board of Directors. The Board of Directors consists of seven different positions which include the President, President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate former President, Directors, and the Executive Director as a nonvoting advisory member (ENA, 2019g). The president of the ENA is Patricia Kunz Howard. Howard has been involved with the ENA at the national, state and local level since 1990 and became director of ENA in January 2015. She was recently elected as the President of this organization in January 2019 (ENA, 2019f).

The organization supports state council and chapter leaders in managing the local educational program, social events, as well as volunteer projects which help to improve the quality of healthcare in the community. In August 2019, the organization is hosting a geriatrics care webinar in Texas to increase knowledge regarding the disease process, elder abuse, and adaptation of care for the older adult population (ENA, 2019d). Members who are also associated with programs at the national level are making changes to the world. Since 2015, the ENA has partnered with Project Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization, to have its members travel to developing countries and provide sustainable healthcare and educational programs for everyone. It allows their members to make a difference in people’s lives not only in the hospital but also in rural areas (ENA, 2019b).

The ENA plays an essential role in healthcare related legislative and regulatory concerns that impact nurses in an emergency setting. The Public Policy Agenda for 2018/2019 identifies their top priorities in safety work environment, nursing education, timely and quality access to care, and injury prevention (ENA, 2019i). The organization’s government relations team in all 50 states focus on issues affecting both nurses and patients across the country. They continually seek opportunity for their members to be a part of the lawmaking process as well as guide them to advocate for themselves and their patients. The efforts of the ENA members are essential in advancing the principles of “Safe Practice, Safe Care” (ENA, 2019e, para. 3)

NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital located in Peekskill New York, is known for providing high-quality access to health care for residents living in Westchester, Putnam, and Lower Dutchess Counties (NYP Hudson Valley Hospital, 2019a). The hospital’s Emergency Department have very low wait time and has highly trained medical staff. They are trained in all aspect of emergency care such as stroke and trauma care, and disaster preparedness. This practice has led to outstanding patient care outcomes (NYP Hudson Valley Hospital, 2019b). According to nurses in the hospital, the emergency department has more than 30 nurses who are active members of the ENA. Members of the New York region receive continuous seasonal conferences and events update through emails and letter mail, regarding structure changes and results of any kind (B. Mazzola, personal communication, July 3,2019).

The ENA plays a significant role in NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital’s outstanding professionalism. The ENA published the Emergency Public Safety Guidelines. This guideline contains information and instructions for the care of children and injury prevention which is still being used today. The organization also advocates on nursing issues related to emergency care reform and emphasizes the role of nurses over the practice setting of the emergency department. It encourages people who are interested in emergency care to become knowledgeable about the health care process and get involved in health policy advocacy (ENA, 2019e). Just like every member of the ENA organization, nurses at Hudson Valley hospital have strong clinical skills that focus on quality improvement and commitment to providing the highest standards of care to all patients.

The ENA currently has more than 43,000 members committed to promoting care to the community. There are different types of membership, which include national member, international member, senior member, military member, international digital member, affiliate member, and student member (ENA, 2019h). It’s required that a member be a Registered Nurse residing inside or outside of the United States or its territories. The ENA ‘s membership is tailored to fit everyone’s career path. The cost of membership varies depending on the location and member’s qualification determined by the organization upon completion of the application. Voting members of the ENA have the right to vote, be elected for office, serve as the board of directors and committees, and attend all social functions. Nonvoting members can only attend some meetings and activities (ENA, 2019h).


  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019a). About Emergency Nurses Association. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/about#mission
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019b). ENA and project helping hands. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/membership/get-involved/ena-and-project-helping-hands
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019c). ENA has 2020 vision. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/enastrategicplan.pdf?sfvrsn=5c367de2_2
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019d). Events. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/event/2019/08/14/ena-events/older-adult-geriatric-care-a-special-population-webinar
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019e). Government relations. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/government-relations
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019f). Patricia Kunz Howard, PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/about/leadership-and-governance/ena-board-of-directors/patricia-kunz-howard-phd-rn-cen-cpen-ne-bc-tcrn-faen
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019g). Leadership and governance. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/about/leadership-and-governance
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019h). Membership options. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/membership/membership-options
  • Emergency Nurses Association. (2019i). Public policy agenda 2018/2019. Retrieved from https://www.ena.org/government-relations/public-policy-agenda
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. (2019a). About us. Retrieved from https://www.nyp.org/hudsonvalley/about-us
  • NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital. (2019b). Emergency department. Retrieved from https://www.nyp.org/hudsonvalley/services/emergency-services