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Standing Strong During Emergency Nurses Week

by Ardith C. Aspaas, Nurse Consultant, Emergency Medical Services for Children, Division of Nursing Services, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services

In 1989, the Emergency Nurses Association established the first Emergency Nurses Day to celebrate the hardworking, dedicated nurses in emergency departments across the country. Emergency Nurses Week is also recognized during the second week of October, with today being Emergency Nurses Day.

This year’s theme – Standing Strong – appropriately describes the many nurse professionals in IHS and tribal emergency departments serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Their ability to provide calm, compassionate nursing care is reassuring in times of vulnerability or crisis. 

Emergency department nurses must know how to triage and treat patients of all ages. For this reason, they rely on continuing education and training to maintain their exceptional ability to think critically and keep clinical skills and clinical knowledge current.

The Division of Nursing Services at IHS headquarters oversees two nurse-driven initiatives to elevate the quality of care of emergency care for American Indian and Alaska Native children and elders; the IHS Hybrid Simulation Training Program aims to improve pediatric readiness across IHS and tribal emergency departments; and the IHS Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation Initiative aims to set a standard of excellence in emergency care for elderly patients throughout the Indian health system. These initiatives create standardized best practices for IHS emergency nursing and provide a level of public assurance regarding the quality of care available to the communities we serve.

Emergency nursing is a specialty practice, and emergency nurses are multitalented, highly skilled nurses caring for patients with diverse needs. Their shifts are fast-paced, chaotic and present with challenging assignments, and yet they stay focused and work as a team to provide the highest quality of life saving measures.

Please join the Division of Nursing Services in recognizing all the amazing emergency nurses across the Indian health system and celebrating their part in raising the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

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Ardith C. Aspaas, Nurse Consultant, Emergency Medical Services for Children, Division of Nursing Services, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services

Ardith Aspaas is a registered nurse and a citizen of the Navajo Nation. She serves as the Indian Health Service emergency medical services for children nurse consultant in the Division of Nursing Services, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services. Having grown up utilizing IHS facilities for health care and later working as a registered nurse in various clinical settings in the private sector and within IHS, Aspaas brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from the field. Since joining IHS, Ardith discovered the need for pediatric readiness and made it a goal to improve partnerships with federal, state, local and tribal stakeholders to elevate and improve access to quality care by focusing on pre-hospital EMS and hospital emergency services for children in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.