What ED nurses can expect from Obama

Although it's impossible to know what an Obama administration means for emergency nurses, there is reason to be encouraged, according to Denise King, RN, MSN, CEN, president of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA).

"There appears to be a strong commitment by the Obama campaign to address the fundamental issues facing health care delivery in the U.S.," King says.

ENA would like steps taken to provide all individuals with equitable access to comprehensive health care services, including mental disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, and addictions, she says.

"Everyone in the nation should have access to a health home for basic care, health promotion, and nonurgent medical needs. Proposals for health care reform should remove those factors that impede individuals from attaining the necessary quality care to which all persons are entitled," says King, noting that emergency services and trauma care have reached a crisis mainly due to overcrowding and boarding, lack of health care providers, and the burden of uncompensated care.

"But until the Obama administration is up and running, it is difficult to determine whether or not these issues can and will be addressed," she says.

King hopes that ED nurses will see electronic medical records implemented more rapidly in their institutions. "Standardized electronic medical information not only will improve quality, but will make the delivery of emergency services more efficient," she says.

King says another hope is that President-elect Obama will recognize and address the growing need for nurses, by pushing for the following:

  • increased funding for the Nursing Workforce Development Programs under Title VIII of the Public Health Services Act, at a level to meet current and future health care needs.
  • increased nurse faculty scholarship funding, to develop the next generation of educators and midlevel practitioners, and increased scholarship funding for entry into practice;
  • maximized education funding for health care professionals who commit to practice in underserved areas;
  • funding for health care worker education to deliver "culturally proficient" care.