Over 145 million patients come to US Emergency Departments every year; it takes over 167,000 emergency nurses to provide compassionate care to these patients: whether a child with a fever or a senior struggling to breathe, they are America’s frontline for care.
Many people outside of emergency medicine may not realize that our nation’s EDs provide an accurate and unfiltered view of society. This slice of reality shows humanity at its best and worst. In addition to the joy of saving a life, the occasional thank you and smile that an ED nurse will receive, they may be yelled at, unappreciated, subjected to unpleasant comments, and even assaulted…. by people they are just trying to help.
Yet, 24/7, 365 days per year - days, nights, weekends, holidays, sunny days, stormy days, natural disasters— these dedicated professionals put their personal needs and those of their families aside and dedicate themselves to caring for all types of strangers.
As an emergency physician, I can personally affirm that I could not do my job without them: they are my right hand (and my left), my eyes, my ears, my conscience, and sometimes even my kinder, gentler voice!