Source: NJ.com Health
Have you thanked your emergency room nurse lately? Today is your chance, as hospitals everywhere are celebrating National Emergency Room Nurse Appreciation Day.
“An emergency nurse has to be every kind of nurse,” said Kim Palestis, Nurse Manager of the ER at Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC).
ER nurses are always on alert, whether it be for a disease or a violent patient. “They have to know how to take care of surgical patients, patients that need to go to the operating room, patients who are dying, ICU patients, pediatric patients. Instead of having one specialty, you need to be a jack of all trades.”
“We are the gateway to the hospital, so we have to be on the highest alert so that nothing spreads to the rest of the building,” added Michelle Lopez, JCMC’s director of the ER. “We also have a very high exposure to violence in this specialty. We see traumas, assaults, public emergencies all spilling over onto us. It’s a very real element of our job that a lot of people don’t realize.”
ER Nurse Appreciation Day was created by the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), a professional organization founded in 1970 as the governing body for the 180,000 ER nurses currently working in the United States.
JCMC has been celebrating their 80 ER nurses this week with personal recognitions, thank-you letters, gift raffles, and a free happy hour.
At CarePoint Health Christ Hospital in Jersey City, the staff of 45 ER nurses were treated to a catered breakfast and dinner on Monday. Today the hospital is hosting a ceremony for ER nurses where one will be named “ER Nurse Of The Year.” Joanne Byrne, who is the reigning ER Nurse Of The Year at Christ Hospital, explained why ER nurses are worthy of appreciation through a story she shared while working during Hurricane Sandy.
“We got bombarded because all the other hospitals were closed, so Christ Hospital was getting everything,” said Byrne. “We were running on backup generators and we had to use glow sticks to see. But we had a good team and strong organization and we got through it. Knowing I’ve done my job well makes me very happy.”