Baromedical Nurses Association: Then and Now
The Baromedical Nurses Association (BNA) was formally organized in 1985 by hyperbaric nurses who were leaders and pioneers in the hyperbaric industry.
There was excitement in this new field, and goals were set with the intent to develop a strong infrastructure for this new organization.
The first goal was to develop a network for support and education for nurses going into this new nursing field. The needs of communication and working together were identified not only to advance the field of hyperbaric nursing but also for this new organization to be recognized internationally as a credible and professional nursing organization.
In the very beginning the BNA set the groundwork to establish a code of ethics and recommended standards of practice for the hyperbaric nursing industry. It recognized the important role of nursing research and participated in education requirements for professional practice. A few years later, with the assistance of the National Board of Diving and Hyperbaric Medical Technology (NBDHMT), the BNA developed a certification process.
Much was accomplished with little in 1985. During this era, typewriters (and pages of handwritten notes) were used to track the growing organizational progress and membership. The BNA did not have smartphones or computers and had no conference-call ability. The founding members used regular mail for sharing correspondence and ideas. Nursing was different at that time, and hyperbaric nursing progressed as nursing progressed.
The BNA has come a long way as an organization. It went though many stages of growth similar to the stages of life. The infancy stage was exciting — a time to learn and attempt new ideas. The adolescent stage was typically full of turmoil — changes were happening as technology evolved and new rules, guidelines, regulations and growth occurred.
The adult stage became one of building and expanding on existing knowledge. The current stage is of celebration of where the BNA has been, where it is going, and the confidence to reach new levels.
BNA celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. This meeting was celebrated via a Caribbean cruise, which provided 12 continuing education units (CEUs) and a tour of the Cozumel Medical Center multiplace hyperbaric unit.
In 2015, the BNA purchased a new website to communicate with the growing membership. Through the website, the BNA was true to the mission of supporting nursing research and conducted its first electronic survey through Reg-on-Line. The survey was done with the cooperation of the NBDHMT, which looked at the incidence of decompression illness in the inside chamber attendant.
The data are being statistically analyzed and should be presented soon.
There have been many changes over the years, but the BNA’s philosophy has not changed. The practice of baromedical nursing is dynamic, complex and a challenging specialty in nursing. The BNA supports professionalism and works with other disciplines to offer total patient care to the hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) patient. Today, the BNA has members throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Asia, South and Central America and the South Pacific.
The BNA remains dedicated to advancing the field of HBO nursing and to provide the most up-to-date educational information supported by research. Educational opportunities and credits are offered free to members and at reduced cost to nonmembers through the website at hyperbaricnurses.org.
The BNA supports nursing research efforts, has a presence on committees and boards of national organizations to have a public voice in issues affecting nursing and provides opportunities for networking and information exchange.
The newsletter and the president’s message is available for viewing on the BNA website along with updated information as the BNA Board meets on a monthly basis via conference calls. The founding members are proud of how the board has embraced the digital age, with all paper documents stored digitally.
The BNA encourages you to visit the website and take advantage of the live webinars and recorded webinars worth valuable CEUs. It values the initial mission of communicating with hyperbaric nurses and welcomes comments from the field. Share your thoughts. You don’t even need a postage stamp!