Austin Doesn’t Know Weird

Austin might own the motto “Make Austin Weird,” but emergency nurses schooled the Emergency Nursing 2019 host city on the true meaning, trotting out their own style and expression for Monday night’s Welcome Party.

The intonations and musical stylings of the eight-piece party band PDA greeted attendees long before they reached the welcome venue of the Austin Convention Center. Once in the hall, the neon-colored wigs, bohemian and festival garb, and flashing light bracelets, necklaces and headbands of partygoers meshed easily with the energetic band and dancers, hula hoops, llamas, miniature goats and swag burros, with photo opportunities at every turn.

Debbie Veatch, an emergency nurse at Pratt Regional Medical Center in Pratt, Kansas, was wearing a black wig, which was the only monochromatic piece in her ensemble. Everything else — headband, vest, leggings and necklace — was a psychedelic spray of color.

“I have been attending this meeting for roughly 10 years, and this is the best party ever,” she said, swearing her outfit came from a sorority sister’s closet, not her own.

Near a food truck facade, Nevada ENA State Council President-elect Dustin Bass, was basking in the glow of his battery-lit tennis shoes, which set off his spray-painted tee shirt and shorts.

“This is one of the best parties,” he said, rattling four others he’s attended. “They did a great job this year.”

Over in the goat-petting zone, first-time attendee Wendy Embs, a nurse at Sparrow-Clinton Emergency Department in Dewitt, Michigan, was more sedately attired. However, she looked at peace as she calmly stroked a blonde baby goat, which was among many of her personal highlights from the meeting.

“The presenters here are amazing,” she said. “And this party is the best.”

At the end of the day, emergency nurses took the dare and raised the bar to keep Austin weird.