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ANA recognizes emergency nursing as specialty


The American Nurses Association has announced its formal recognition of emergency nursing as a specialty practice.

The ANA defines emergency nursing as “the care of individuals across the lifespan with perceived or actual physical or emotional alterations of health that are undiagnosed or require further interventions. Emergency nursing care is episodic, primary, typically short-term and occurs in a variety of settings.”

The ANA also approved the Emergency Nurses Association’s scope of practice statement and acknowledged the standards of practice for emergency nursing. These documents, written by the ENA (, form the foundation of emergency nursing and outline the expectations of the professional role within which emergency nurses must practice.

“The criteria for attaining specialty status are rigorous, so the recognition of emergency nursing as a specialty is a significant achievement,” ANA President Karen Daley, RN, PhD, MPH, FAAN, said in a news release. “ANA’s role in this process is to protect patients by ensuring high quality in nursing practice and performance. This recognition tells the public that emergency nurses are dedicated to meeting high standards of care and patient safety.”

ENA President AnnMarie Papa, RN, DNP, CEN, NE-BC, FAEN, said the recognition acknowledges the unique aspects of emergency nursing and gives emergency nurses a stronger voice in healthcare policy debates.

“It allows other health professionals and healthcare consumers to have a clear understanding of the range of emergency nursing practice and gives a better understanding of the roles emergency nurses fill,” Papa said in the news release.

Papa added that the designation establishes a common language and understanding within the emergency care field, strengthens the case for ongoing research to apply best practices at stretcher-side, and reinforces “the need of the emergency nurse to embrace career advancement in leadership, education and advanced practice nursing.”

By consensus of specialty nursing groups, the ANA became the neutral reviewing body of scope of practice statements and standards of practice for nursing specialties in the late 1990s. Specialty nursing practices must meet certain criteria to gain recognition through a review process intended to ensure consistency in nursing practice.

For information on the ANA’s process for formally recognizing nursing specialties, visit


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