According to a recently released report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the nation's emergency departments (ED) are at the breaking point. The report describes a national crisis where ED patients must wait for hours to receive care, ambulances are diverted to other hospitals because of overcrowding, and a rising number of patients are using the EDs for common health care needs.
The Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) program at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is poised to address the ED crisis. One of only four programs of its kind in the United States, Emory's ENP program prepares nurses to provide health care in emergency settings, specifically in evaluating, managing, treating, and even preventing unexpected illness and injury.
ENPs are in a position to help improve hospital efficiency and patient flow, one of the solutions the IOM states is critical to reducing overcrowding, says Michelle Mott, RN, MSN, FNP, program director for Emory's ENP program. "Emergency nurse practitioners are prepared to work with different types of patients that come to the emergency departments. Specifically, we can identify and triage the non-urgent, semi-urgent and urgent cases, thus streamlining the process."
Katherine Heilpern, MD, vice chair for academic affairs, Emory Department of Emergency Medicine agrees. "Nurse practitioners specifically trained in the management of the acutely ill and injured patients are invaluable in the emergency setting, both for state-of-the-art acute care and managing patients in short-stay clinical decision units."
Emory's schools of nursing and medicine work together to provide interdisciplinary linkages and educational opportunities for their students, Dr. Heilpern continues. "Emory is leading the way in this regard and I am proud to be part of this initiative."
In addition to learning how to perform clinical procedures commonly used in emergency settings such as suturing, joint injection, slit lamp examinations, and splinting and casting, Emory's ENPs are prepared to provide primary health care for uninsured and insured patients who use the ED in lieu of visiting a doctor. Graduates are eligible for certification as a family nurse practitioner from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is recognized as a leader in the preparation of nurses for beginning and advanced practice. Graduates of the programs are at the forefront in leadership, serving as role models for excellence in nursing practice throughout the world. The School of Nursing is especially committed to evolving nursing practice through its key values of scholarship, leadership and social responsibility. To learn more, visit www.nursing.emory.edu or call 404-727-7980.