As we prepare for our annual conference, I cannot help but think of the memories of this time 10 years ago. It is hard to believe it has been a full decade since the tragedy of 9/11. Like many of you, I continue to find myself forever affected by the heartbreak of that day. I was flying to our annual meeting in Orlando, and upon landing that morning, we were told of an “event” in one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. As we got off the plane and went to the TV monitors, we saw the second plane fly into the second tower. We were speechless. I was stunned. My mother and I had just been there the week before exploring the buildings and enjoying the wonderful hustle and bustle that is so exciting and germane to New York City. This could have been, and was, many of us— our friends, neighbors and colleagues. The ripple effect... like a pebble tossed into a lake...endless and far reaching. As we got our luggage, many of our ENA members met in the shuttle to the hotel and immediately were setting plans in motion to help our friends and colleagues in New York. The lessons we learned that day were many and continue to be part of our daily lives. We suffered loss and tragedy but celebrated the wonder and magic of the human spirit and value of friendship and networking. Mary Jagim led us with grace and wisdom as President, and Donna Mason helped us find balance as Chair of the annual conference that we had to cancel. As emergency nurses, we do similar things every day. We move from code to hangnail to childbirth to trauma to broken bone to allergic reaction; tragedy to joy effortlessly, learning all the way. We have a special ability to look past the tragedy and challenge to find the joy. We move forward to act and prepare so that the next event or our next patient can get the attention and care that we so proudly provide every minute of every day. Our influence is as endless and far reaching as the ripple from that pebble on the water. That is one of the many reasons our annual conference is so valuable. It is a chance for emergency nurses to learn, prepare, and network with our colleagues so that exceptional care is not a goal, but a standard to which we hold ourselves as professionals. We catch up with our friends, make new friends, and build a network that is limitless. A friend recently told me about her daughter being a patient in an emergency department, and she was over 2000 miles away. She called the emergency department and asked to speak to any ENA member that was there. The nurse who was on the phone was a member. My friend explained the situation and asked that she be her eyes and her heart for just a minute and let her know what was happening. After obtaining permission from the patient (always conscious of confidentiality), the nurse returned and became the ED nurse connection between my friend and her daughter. I, too, have done this on many occasions, and I know that many of you have done the same. This is us. This is the power of the ED nurse. We are a unique combination of strength, wisdom, knowledge, experience, compassion, and humor. As we prepare for the annual conference and remember the events of 9/ 11, think of the beautiful pattern of the ripple on the water and know that you have touched countless lives and made a difference. Oscar Wilde says that our memory is the diary we carry with us. Our diary is rich and priceless. As we remember the events of 9/11, let us celebrate the wonder of the human spirit and our impact as emergency nurses. AnnMarie Papa is President of the Emergency Nurses Association and Interim Director of Emergency Services, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania & Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA.
Journal of emergency nursing: JEN : official publication of the Emergency Department Nurses Association