Nurses to ACEP: Pause ED accreditation program

Emergency department nurses are urging the American College of Emergency Physicians to delay the rollout of its ED accreditation program, arguing that the current framework primarily focuses on physician-driven quality standards and could potentially limit the role of nurses. 

The Emergency Nurses Association said the accreditation program does not recognize the vital role emergency nurses, nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses play in successfully operating an ED.

The current framework is based on adherence to certain ACEP policies and standards — rather than an independent verification of best practices, policies and standards — which ENA called "short-sighted" in a May 15 statement. The group also said the program does not allow NPs to practice at the top of their license and leaves unanswered questions about the program's benefits on patient care and ED improvements. 

"The concept of an ED-specific accreditation is laudable, and the program does reference several policies and guidelines supported by ENA," Chris Dellinger, BSN, RN, president of the association, said in the statement. "However, ENA asks ACEP to pause its roll out of this initiative until such time as an interdisciplinary group within the emergency care team is consulted on the framework and goals of this accreditation program."

In a May 16 statement to Becker's, ACEP President Aisha Terry, MD, outlined the program's objectives and its future evolution to incorporate input from various care team members.

"Our new ED accreditation program seeks to standardize the quality of care provided to patients and optimize the emergency department workplace environment," Dr. Terry said in a March 16 statement to Becker's. "While the initial iteration of this program focuses on emergency physician practice, it will evolve to incorporate additional insights from other members of the care team. To this end, recent collaborative discussions with the leadership of our non-physician clinical team member organizations are ongoing. We respect ENA as the authority on emergency nursing and are eager to identify opportunities that reflect our shared priorities as the program matures."

ACEP will start accepting applications for the ED accreditation program this spring. 

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