Four days ago I came home from one of my favorite events of the year, ENA Leadership Conference. There are many reasons why I love the event so much. First, we start the week with our state and chapter leaders conference. The energy and enthusiasm in the room is incredible. The sharing of ideas, successes, and the collaboration that is accomplished in one day is awe-inspiring. Second, the classes are always good, and this year I have to say the classes were awesome. There is always something new to learn, and I value the opportunity to learn with my colleagues from all over the world. And for those of us in the Northeast…the Phoenix sun and beautiful weather was a welcome relief from the snow. All of those are great reasons to love the meeting. In my mind, the biggest reason this is one of my favorite events? I get to see my family. My ENA family.
ENA is like one big family. We look forward to getting together at least once a year. We swap stories about what’s going on in our emergency departments. We share our biggest accomplishments of the year. We talk about our biggest frustrations in our practice areas. We celebrate the new additions to our family, and we grieve the ones we have lost along the way. In short, we catch up. We meet new friends. We recharge our batteries. Some of us reignite the passion for our practice we may have lost along the way. All of us see someone we haven’t seen in, well, a year.
This year in my role as president, I had a different experience. I had nurses come talk to me to share their stories with me personally. I heard stories from victims of workplace violence. I heard stories from nurses who made errors in their departments. I saw the frustration on some faces when they shared how they tried to get someone to support them as they worked their way through the legal system. For every story that made me want to hug someone, I heard at least three more. These were stories of how ENA made a difference in their life or the life of a patient. I heard stories about how something they learned in ENPC helped them recognize a child was in trouble. Some told me about how they had used an ENA clinical practice guideline to change a practice in their departments. I heard stories of how state leaders partnered with our government affairs experts to successfully push legislation in their states. And I had nurses tell me how grateful they were the ENA violence toolkit is available to anyone who wants to work to make a difference in the epidemic of workplace violence in the ED. These were the stories about how ENA helped make a difference.
I feel incredibly privileged that I heard these stories first hand. I wanted to share them with you because you are part of my ENA family. We come together at a conference to learn, to network, to inspire and to be inspired. When I got home, there was no question in my mind that I must continue to work towards fulfilling the mission of ENA with heart-felt passion. These stories are the reasons why we at ENA continue to advocate on your behalf for safe practice and safe care. You all make a difference each and every day in the lives of your colleagues and the patients and families you care for. Thank you for continuing to inspire me.