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New RCN Emergency Care Association chair: I will build on the achievements of my predecessors

David Smith describes his approach to some of the tasks he faces as chair of the Emergency Care Association
Vector image of outlines of human heads facing each other. Picture David Smith describes his approach to some of the tasks he faces as new chair of the Emergency Care Association.

David Smith describes his approach to some of the tasks he faces as chair of the RCN's Emergency Care Association

When I was appointed chair of the RCN Emergency Care Association (ECA) at the end of 2019 my emotions were akin to when I took my first role in an emergency department (ED) as a newly qualified nurse, seven years ago: anxiety, excitement and a determination to make my role a success.

I aim to build on the achievements of my predecessors and ensure I always have sight of the problems we face as emergency nurses. That said, on social media I see the incredible work that every ED is doing day in, day out and I am keen for us

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David Smith describes his approach to some of the tasks he faces as chair of the RCN's Emergency Care Association

Vector image of outlines of human heads facing each other. Picture David Smith describes his approach to some of the tasks he faces as new chair of the Emergency Care Association.
Picture: iStock

When I was appointed chair of the RCN Emergency Care Association (ECA) at the end of 2019 my emotions were akin to when I took my first role in an emergency department (ED) as a newly qualified nurse, seven years ago: anxiety, excitement and a determination to make my role a success.

I aim to build on the achievements of my predecessors and ensure I always have sight of the problems we face as emergency nurses. That said, on social media I see the incredible work that every ED is doing day in, day out and I am keen for us to celebrate this.

It is too easy to focus on the daily responsibilities and stressors that we are faced with and not take stock of how magnificent we are. Nurses are the most trusted professionals and emergency nurses are highly regarded and trusted by our colleagues across the whole multidisciplinary team.

I would like to thank my predecessor, Janet Youd, for lending me her expertise whenever I have needed it in the past 12 months and to assure her that I will be continuing to use it.

Janet and the ECA committee have achieved incredible things, including producing the RCN National Curriculum and Competency Framework for Emergency Nursing Levels 1 and 2. I have the huge honour of leading the committee to ensure it is updated and relevant for the next three years.

Let us know how the framework could be improved

I am keen to hear from nurses about their experiences of using the framework and how it can be amended to suit their needs. We are aware that a more robust paediatric framework is needed that is not simply annotated from the adult version, and I would like to hear from paediatric emergency nurse colleagues who would be interested in getting involved in this.

This is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and there is a lot we can achieve together for the benefit of the profession.

The Baseline Emergency Staffing Tool (BEST), which went digital in October 2019, can help in this. It is a dynamic tool that can help EDs understand what their minimum ratio of nurses to patients should be depending on clinical area/acuity, based on evidence.

I am under no illusions about the challenges we face in our profession, and the ECA will be championing and professionally representing each of our forum members at a national level. 

If you are keen to help us do this, the ECA committee has two vacancies, so we are looking for enthusiastic and knowledgeable members to join our team - please get in touch if you are interested.

We will also be analysing the results of the ongoing pilot into new waiting time targets for EDs when they are released this year and will urge caution with regards to any changes that could be made to national policy.

Finally, as we find ourselves in these unprecedented times, in the face of a global Covid-19 pandemic which is having a huge impact on our NHS services, I urge you all to stay strong, stand together, look out for each other and take care of yourselves.  

This too shall pass.


Picture of David Smith, who describes his approach to some of the tasks he faces as new chair of the Emergency Care AssociationDavid Smith, David.Smith137@nhs.net, is chair of the RCN’s Emergency Care Association

 

 

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