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Emergency Nurses Association Collection

An inventory of papers at the Midwest Nursing History Research Center, College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Overview of the Collection
Repository: MNHRC, CON, University of Illinois at Chicago
Creator: Emergency Nurses Association
Title: Emergency Nurses Association Collection
Dates: 1970-2012
Quantity: 3.5 linear feet
Identification: ENA
Language: English.

Biographical Sketch

As early as 1968 Anita Dorr RN, Emergency Room Supervisor at E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital (now Erie County Medical Center), began identifying specific needs of emergency room nurses and planning with other nurses in the Buffalo, New York area, a formal emergency room nurses organization. Her vision was to provide continuing education and a united voice. Dorr was a graduate of the E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Buffalo, New York. She joined the Army Nurse Corps. In World War II where she was promoted to the rank of Major. She saw action in major campaigns in Africa. In the 1960s, she served as supervisor of admissions and the emergency department at the E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital. Her contributions in emergency nursing were widely recognized. She served on the New York State Technical Advisory Board on Emergency Nursing and has been invited to serve on the US Public health Bureau of Emergency Services.

Dorr is credited with the 1967 invention of what was then called the “Crisis Cart” or what is now called the Emergency Room Crash Cart. Through corresponding and meeting with other E.R. nurses from all over the country she supplied the impetus for what became the Emergency Room Nurses Association in 1970. Initially she called the association “The Emergency Room National Organization”. Her title was Chairman of the Emergency Department Nurses Association. Her advisory committee consisted of Dr. George Anast, Dr. David Kluge, Dr. Robert Wilbee, and Odry I. Erickson, RN.

Judy Kelleher launched a similar initiative for emergency nurses on the West Coast in May 1970. Kelleher thought that the organization should be called “Emergency Department Nurses Association.” Kelleher’s fledgling organization contained the following leadership: the steering committee consisted of Judy Kelleher, Hope McCrum, Eileen Farrell, Cathy Griffith, Althea Kennedy, Monica Reiss, and Vivienne Thomas. The Advisory Committee consisted of Dr. William Stryker, Dr. Howell Wiggins, Dr. J. Cuthbert Owens, Dr. John Abbey, and Dr. Vern Nickel. Two other nurses who helped a great deal in the early days were Avice Kerr and Florence Weiner. On December 1 1970 the two nurses from opposite coasts got together and combined the organizations. The two agreed that the organization should officially be called the Emergency Department Nurses Association. Their first meeting was in New York in 1971. In October of 1972, Anita Dorr, RN, succumbed to lung cancer and Ruth Miller became the Executive Director of E.D.N.A. Judy Kelleher was the first person to be elected president. The national organization was divided into eleven regions including Canada. Each region has a representative and there are many local chapters within a region.

In 1985, the Association’s name was changed to Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), recognizing their profession as role-specific rather than site-specific. In 2005, the Emergency Nurses Association celebrated their 35th Anniversary.

(For more historical information see Folder 20 in Box 1 or Folder 6 in Box 2. This brief synopsis of Emergency Room Nurses Association and biographical information about Anita Dorr, RN, was taken from information gathered there)

Scope and Contents

Box 1 contains 25 folders. Folders 1 to 4 contain administrative materials, including the correspondence between Anita Dorr, RN, and her advisory committee. Folders 5 to 15 contain correspondence between Dorr and ten of the eleven regional representative, as well as other materials related to the regions. These folders are organized by region. Folders 16 to 19 contain sections of a book of minutes of national committee meetings. Folders 20 to 24 contain a brief history of E.D.N.A. and sections of the manual, Continuing Education Curriculum Guide. Folder 25 contains a convention booklet from the first national meeting of E.D.N.A. and a cloth patch bearing the roadrunner mascot.

Box 2 contains 17 folders. Folders 1 and 2 contain correspondence and biographical information about co-founders, Anita Dorr, RN, and Judith Kelleher, RN. Folders 3 to 5 contain information on the purpose, history and structure of the association. Folder 6 chronicles the interesting name changes of the association. Folders 7 to 11 contain policies and publications about and by the E.N.A. Folders 13 to 17 contain sections from a notebook of reports and meeting minutes from the Executive Committee in 1977. The Table of Contents is in Folder 13. Boxes 3 and 4 contain issues of “ENA Connections.” Box 5 contains issues of “ENA Daily News.”

Box 6 contains issues of “ENA Connections.

Box 7 contains annual reports and general assembly resolutions, a variety of educational materials, and membership brochures.

The Emergency Nurses Association Collection is a comprehensive history of the organization. It includes correspondence from both founders, Anita Dorr, RN, on the east coast and Judith Kelleher, RN, on the West Coast, to each other and to members of their Advisory Council and Regional Representatives. The business aspects and professional services are also well represented, especially in Box 2 of the collection. There are various written histories of the organization in Box 1, Folder 2 and Box 2, Folder 4. The early organization and leadership of each distinctive region is detailed in Box 1, Folders 5 – 14. Enthusiasm for the association is exhibited by correspondence and publications written about and by Emergency Nurses Association members. Capable and committed leadership is evident from the top of the organization to each region and state level through correspondence and reports. The purpose, concerns and policies of the Emergency Nurses Association is well represented in Box 2. The collection concludes in Box 2 with a very detailed report from the Executive Committee in 1977 that exhibits the amazing strides the association accomplished in its first five years.

See Folder Content List (pdf)

Acquisition History

The Midwest Nursing History Research Center acquired these materials in January, 2017. The original donation of Emergency Nurses Association materials was made to the University of Virginia in July, 2006. Additional materials were donated to the University of Virginia in April, 2011 and November, 2012.

The initial donation processed and finding aid written by Maureen Spokes in July, 2006. Additional materials processed and finding aid modified by Henry K. Sharp in April, 2011 and November, 2012.