In 1970, acknowledging the need for an organization that represented the interests of those nurses working in the emergency department, Anita Dorr, RN and Judith Kelleher, RN, MSN, founded what is known today as the Emergency Nurses Association.
Anita, working in Buffalo, New York and inventing the crash cart, formed the Emergency Room Nurses Organization while Judith and her colleagues in California had formed the Emergency Department Nurses Association. Each perceived a need for nurses involved in emergency healthcare to pool their resources in order to set standards and develop improved methods for effective emergency nursing practice. Their goal was to also provide continuing education programs for emergency nurses as well as provide a united voice for all nurses involved in emergency care.
The two groups formally joined forces on December 1, 1970, and the Association was incorporated as the Emergency Department Nurses Association (EDNA). The name was changed to the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) in 1985 to reflect the practice of emergency nursing as role-specific and not site-specific.
Originally aimed at teaching and networking, the organization has evolved into an authority, advocate, lobbyist, educator and voice for emergency nursing. In addition, in 1995, Emergency Nurses Care (ENCARE) became an affiliate as ENA's Injury Prevention Institute. The institute provides training to volunteers who do community outreach education programs on gun safety, underage alcohol use, drinking and driving, safety belts, bicycle helmet safety, and more to 300,000 people a year ranging in age from 8 years to adult.
ENA's Trauma Nursing Core Course and Emergency Pediatric course are taught to over 50,000 nurses a year both in the U.S. as well as abroad. The program has been translated in several languages and has been conducted internationally. In addition, ENA provides a Course in Advanced Trauma Nursing, Triage, and an Orientation program.
Today a variety of courses, publications, community outreach programs, government relations activities, research, continuing education programs and certification are offered by ENA to the more than 22,000 members and 4,000 injury prevention volunteers.