Patient Needs Come First: ENA Converts EN21 to Fully Virtual Experience

Ron Kraus

Being committed to care isn’t always easy.

But ENA leaders took solace in the association tagline last week when they converted Emergency Nursing 2021 to a fully virtual event to be held Sept. 22-24.

ENA originally planned for a hybrid event held in-person in Orlando and virtually, but with the COVID-19 pandemic raging on across the country, the association wanted its members and all emergency nurses to be ready and available to support their emergency departments and communities facing the challenges of this ongoing public health crisis.

Changing EN21’s format enables attendees to focus on their work at home, knowing high-quality emergency nursing education is available to them during the event, with on-demand access through Jan. 31 whenever they’re ready to log on to learn. Through a dynamic virtual platform, attendees will find live sessions, a virtual exhibit hall, a growing on-demand library and more beginning Sept. 22.

“Just as it has for the last 18 months, ENA continues to find the best ways to support its members during these difficult moments we are all facing,” said ENA President Ron Kraus in a Sept. 3 announcement. “Emergency Nursing 2021 will be a time to rally together once again.”

Access to the event and its library of on-demand material is available from any computer with internet access or with the conference mobile app, which in the coming weeks will be available in the Apple App store and Google Play store. ENA will provide more information about the app on the ENA website soon.

Making the decision meant facing disappointment at all levels of the association. Members will miss out on the chance to reunite and recharge their batteries, while staff and member volunteers must pivot to a virtual event a second time, forgoing months of planning for a hybrid experience.

“There’s no hiding from the disappointment,” Kraus noted in the announcement. “Our members are physically and emotionally exhausted, and those who planned to travel to Orlando looked forward to Emergency Nursing 2021 as a chance to reunite and re-energize during the most challenging time in their careers.”

ENA will convert all in-person registrations to virtual and refund the payment balance for each attendee. Non-member registrants will be converted to virtual status and keep their complimentary one-year memberships. ENA will not transfer credits to Emergency Nursing 2022.

Hotel rooms booked through ENA’s event partner, On Peak, will be canceled, and deposits refunded.

ENA encourages attendees who booked air travel to Orlando to contact their airline or travel agent as many airlines are offering credits and refunds for some canceled flights.

Looking forward, ENA is dedicated to offering many ways for conference-goers to learn, network and connect with their peers.

“We can’t change the hand we’re dealt, but we make the best hand of the cards we’re given,” Kraus said in a video posted to Facebook. “I have no doubt that we, as ENA, will take the cards we’re dealt, and I guarantee it will be a royal flush. There’s no stopping us.”

Participants will be able to claim more than 50 contact hours for Emergency Nursing 2021 accredited education. All sessions will be available, and credit open to claim, until Jan. 31.

The virtual exhibit hall is more engaging this year, offering attendees the opportunity to schedule appointments through the virtual platform and mobile app to chat with the dozens of industry partners, academic institutions and vendors catering to emergency nurses’ interests.

And ENA hasn’t forgotten about the fun. Staff and member conference planners are working diligently to create unique and entertaining opportunities for attendees to come together virtually with their peers. More information on these events will be available soon.

The 2021 ENA General Assembly will also be virtual this year. As with last year’s event, delegates will use the LUMI platform and Zoom to participate. The event, held Sept. 21 and 22, will have a streamlined agenda that focuses on the state and key items for delegate consideration.

ENA will host delegate training sessions before GA to ensure attendees are comfortable with the virtual platform. More information can be found on the General Assembly page of the ENA website, which staff will update as needed.

Shifting ENA’s annual education and networking conference from a hybrid event with attendees gathering in Orlando to a fully virtual experience was a disappointing decision for association leaders to make. The staff and ENA Board of Directors considered many factors, including travel restrictions imposed on some emergency nurses, but ultimately focused on what is best for ENA members at this stage in the pandemic.

“The move to a fully virtual event allows ENA members, and all emergency nurses, to rightfully focus on caring for patients, educating others on the importance of vaccinations and, most importantly, their own health and well-being,” Kraus offered in the announcement.