New Board Announced at Conference Closing Ceremony

From left to right: Gina Slobogin, Barbara Gibson, Matt Powers, Karla Nygren, Ryan Oglesby, Chris Dellinger, Patti Kunz Howard and Ron Kraus

After a week of education, networking, and well-mannered and intentional weirdness, Emergency Nursing 2019 in Austin ended with its usual fanfare and a few surprises at the closing session.

In addition to the annual Stryker matinee, which showcased the memories made throughout the week, ENA President Patti Kunz Howard announced the results of the 2019 ENA National Election.

“I cannot say enough about how important it is for you all to vote in national elections,” Howard said, noting that voting is how members can have a say in the future of the organization.

The 2019 ENA election winners, who will assume their offices Jan. 1, are:

  • Ron Kraus, ENA President-elect
  • Karla Nygren, ENA Secretary/Treasurer
  • Chris Dellinger, ENA Board of Directors
  • Ryan Oglesby, ENA Board of Directors
  • Julie Miller, Nominations and Elections Committee, Region 2
  • Gina Slobogin, Nominations and Elections Committee, Region 4
  • Barbara Gibson, Nominations and Elections Committee, Region 6
  • Matt Powers, Nominations and Elections Committee, ENA Past Board Member

As is tradition, Howard presented the annual ENA President’s Award, which went to the patient care managers in her own EDs at the University of Kentucky. She thanked Dixie Bryant and Erin Morris for holding down the fort and enabling her to dedicate the necessary time to her duties as ENA president.

Before introducing current ENA President-elect Mike Hastings, Howard promised attendees that it wasn’t goodbye — or rather, that it won’t be in January, when her presidential term comes to an end.

“Today is bittersweet,” she said, “I’m not going anywhere, but it is time for me to move on to the next chapter.”

Hastings took the stage with words of homage and encouragement for next year, which is ENA’s 50th as a professional organization.

“Without the commitment of so many individuals,” he said, “ENA would not be in the amazing place we are today.”

ENA Foundation Chairperson Mickey Forness announced 2019 was a record-setting year financially for the association, beginning with $223,000 raised through the annual ENA State Challenge and continuing with Emergency Nursing 2019.

Through various efforts throughout the meeting in Austin, Forness said that the foundation raised $67,000.

Beyond the ceremonial torch passing and speeches, ENA offered attendees one last educational session, “Sheroes and Heroes,” which highlighted four amazing nurses and health care advocates whose stories brought audience members to tears.

Tamara Ferguson, a labor-and-delivery nurse from Paradise, California, recounted the perilous hours during the Camp Fire that ravaged northern California in November. She and several of her colleagues at Feather River Hospital in Paradise were among the last to evacuate as they made sure the facility’s patients were taken care of first. Their heroic actions continued during their own evacuation, when they were forced to take refuge in and protect one of the only houses around them not on fire.

“If I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die protecting my patient,” Ferguson said about the patients in her care, which included a woman who underwent a c-section birth earlier that morning. “And if I’m gonna live, I’ve got a job to do.”

Another presenter, Meghan Price, shared a story of overwhelming loss and her fight to ensure a devastated mother who lost her husband and son in a horrific car accident was reunited with her daughter who was taken to a different hospital.

“My heart broke that day,” Price said about witnessing the emotional trauma her patients experienced. “I wanted to do something, anything I could do to help her.”

The ED nurse turned family nurse practitioner brought attendees to their feet when she brought the surviving mother and daughter on stage to present them with a framed poem and continued support.

Emergency Nursing 2019 Conference Planning Committee Chairperson Kim Brandenburg closed the session offering attendees a special gift – a purple cape under each chair.

“Let’s all stand up and put on these capes to wear proudly in recognition of the heroes we are individually and collective as emergency nurses,” Brandenburg said.

Hundreds of attendees filed out of the hall and through the convention center, their capes undulating behind them.