My Experience As An Er Nurse
I personally specialized in pediatric ER and have cared for children, ages 0-18, for the last six years, with the occasional adult sprinkled in. I worked as a travel nurse for three of those years, primarily in Level 1 trauma and teaching facilities across the country. I prefer working in the Level 1 hospitals because I like the critical thinking necessary to care for high acuity patients, and I particularly loved working in the trauma bays. â
Q: What Does Patient Care Look Like In An Er Setting
Patient care is focused on meeting the critical needs of each patient. It can be very challenging because patients sometimes think that the care that they will receive in the ER is a “fix-all. Patients sometimes leave the ER with the same issue/condition that brought them in.
As a result, patients are referred to other doctors for follow-ups, more diagnostic testing, and care. In the ER, we rule out all of the life-threatening conditions and either admit the patient to the hospital or discharge them to continue their care with the necessary follow-up.
Emergency Room Nurse Education Requirements And Training
Most emergency rooms require you to be a registered nurse before you are even considered for the position. This position requires either a two-year nursing degree or a four-year nursing degree depending on the individual requirements of the emergency room that you are applying for. You will either need to have an ADN or a BSN and have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure test for your state. There are plenty of emergency rooms across the country that will happily hire someone that has an associate degree in nursing.
On top of being a registered nurse and completing your NCLEX-RN, you can prepare to receive the Certified Emergency Nurse certification. This cert was developed by the Emergency Nurse Association to help ER nurses demonstrate their knowledge and expertise. In order to be able to take this certification, you must have at least two years of experience in the emergency room as an RN and you must successfully pass the certification test.
Skills Needed to be a great emergency room nurse:
There are other post-masters emergency nursing degrees you can consider obtaining that will require you to get more training. Emergency certifications are good for five years and in most cases, you can use your experience working as your continuing education to keep your certification current.
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How Do You Become An Er Nurse
A BSN is the recommended degree for an ER nurse. You should complete a BSN program at an accredited nursing school like the University of Texas at Arlington . UT Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers an online BSN degree program that has no traditional semester breaks so you can complete it in as few as 15 months. You will learn through technology-enhanced courses, and UT Arlington faculty will supervise your clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state of Texas.
Once you have earned your BSN, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination so you can receive your license to practice as a registered nurse . While certification is not mandatory, many employers prefer that nurses have the additional credentials.
The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing does not require, but suggests, that you have two years of experience in an emergency room department before taking the Certified Emergency Nurse Examination to become a certified emergency nurse . You will have to get re-certified every four years. Here are some other certifications ER nurses can obtain from the BCEN:
- Certified flight registered nurse .
- Certified pediatric emergency nurse .
- Certified transport registered nurse .
Where Do Emergency Room Nurses Work
Virtually every hospital has an emergency admitting and triage area where injured or ailing patients can enter and be assessed for medical treatment and stabilized, as the situation requires. Each triage area has to be staffed with appropriately training nursing specialists for maximum safety and efficiency. While transfers of complicated cases or extensive patient trauma to larger and more elaborate hospitals often occur, very few facilities arent equipped to receive and admit patients on an emergency basis.
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How Much Do Er Nurses Make
Demand is high for ER nurses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% job growth rate for RNs from 2019 to 2029, making ER nursing an attractive career. ER nurse salaries are well above the average national median salary of $51,920 and the national average salary of $34,250.
On average, nurse practitioners with ER skills earn $100,721 each year. The additional education and certification is a good investment for ER nurses seeking more compensation, responsibility, and autonomy.
What Are The Typical Responsibilities Of An Er Nurse
When I first started, I internally compared the ER to the Wild West chaotic and lawless. While it can certainly feel like that some days, after six years spent in various ERs across the country, I now understand that a good ER is actually more like a well-oiled machine.
It is a team of highly qualified medical professionals who work together to effectively and efficiently care for patients in a fast-paced, high turn-over setting. We are the gatekeepers of a sort. While we typically do not keep patients for long periods of time, as a team, we see or treat almost every patient that is admitted to the hospital and thousands more that we are able to send home.
It is our job as ER nurses to assess, triage, and treat all patients that come through our hospital doors. If they require lengthy stays or treatments beyond the scope of the ER, then we get them where they need to go . â
An Overview Of The Job Of An Er Nurse
Most nursing professionals who work directly with patients follow a linear path of care. First, they assess patients medical histories and ask them questions. Next, they conduct exams, develop diagnoses and recommend courses of treatment.
However, nurses in the emergency room often do not have the luxury of following this linear path. Patients in the ER usually need emergency interventions to save their lives, so an ER nurse must frequently assess, diagnose and treat almost simultaneously.
Q: What Advice Would You Give To Nurses Or Future Nurses Considering Er Care
My advice to other nurses that want to pursue ER nursing would be to try not to doubt yourself. The ER is a challenging place to work. There will be a learning curve and culture shock. In order to tap into your greatness, you have to navigate through both.
And ultimately, because there are so many options in nursing, if the ER ends up not being a good fit, there’s always other options. Hospitals often don’t want to fire you. They want to find a place that fits you, so you can thrive. I think people are fearful of failing, but it’s not really failure. It’s growth.
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How Long Does It Take To Become An Er Nurse
It takes two years to earn an ADN or four years to earn a BSN. Candidates must hold a BSN to secure some ER nurse jobs, especially at larger hospitals. A BSN is also necessary to pursue an advanced degree such as an MSN or DNP. In addition, many hospitals will require some nursing experience when hiring someone for the ER.
What Do Emergency Room Nurses Do
Lorry Schoenly, PhD, RN is a nurse writer and educator with over 25 years of experience. She has been certified in five different clinical specialties including critical care and emergency nursing. Starting as an associate degree registered nurse, she continued her schooling in traditional and distance-learning settings to obtain a BSN, MSN, and PhD in nursing while working full-time and raising a family. Lorry teaches nursing in a variety of settings including webinars and online nursing courses.
Emergency Room nurses, also called Emergency Department nurses, provide nursing care in a variety of emergency and pre-hospital settings. They rapidly assess and stabilize patients in life-threatening situations such as heart attacks, strokes and traumatic injury. ER nurses also care for less critical illnesses and injuries such as sore throats, abdominal pain and broken bones. Care is delivered to patients along the full age continuum from infants to elderly.
Nurses who enjoy this specialty usually like variety and an ever-changing environment. Some shifts may be extremely hectic and others may be very slow. The situation can change in a moment so that within any given shift you may have a serious motorcycle trauma in one room and a baby with a stuffy nose in the next. ER nurses must know how to triage their time so that they give the most critical and time-sensitive actions priority.
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Common Employers Of Emergency Room Nurses
While its commonly assumed that emergency room nurses work in the ERs of hospitals, you can often find these professionals in other settings as well. Many work in urgent care clinics, where they treat patients with urgent but not overly serious health issues, such as respiratory infections and sprained ankles. Urgent care nurses tend to have a great deal of autonomy.
Of course, there are differences from one hospital to the next. Common injuries and cases that ER nurses work with vary across regions and urban versus rural locations. Most frequently-seen cases at a hospital are often dependent upon local industries, cultures, landscape, and other factors.
ER nurses also work in schools and universities, on search and rescue crews to stabilize rescued patients, and even as on-site medics on movie sets, in sporting arenas and on cruise ships.
What Leadership Roles Are Available For Er Nurses
ER nurses seeking advancement outside of administrative roles can become emergency nurse practitioners by earning an MSN and certification. On the administrative side, ER nurses can become charge nurses, who lead the entire nursing unit in an emergency department. These positions require considerable experience and may require a graduate degree.
What Are Some Of The Not
Being an ER nurse also has its downfalls. If you like being able to plan ahead for your shift or like a slower pace, then maybe the ER is not for you. I vividly remember having a wonderfully quiet night at the ER and was going to be sent home early, just to step outside to find not one, but TWO stab wound victims dumped on our front steps.â
Donât ever actually say the âQâ word on the unit unless you want a hellish night and to be shunned by your superstitious coworkers.
My night quickly evolved from chatting around the nurses station to a full-blown trauma response consisting of rapid infusing blood products and getting two simultaneously decompensating patients to the OR. And we worked on those patients so hard, only to have them transferred to someoneâs care so soon and not really knowing the ultimate outcomes.
This is common in the ER. We donât get to care for patients for lengthy periods of time. Like I said, this can be a blessing or a curse. But once in a while, you have this really special patient or family that are so wonderful that you wish you could be their primary nurse for the entire duration of their hospital stay. In the ER, you donât have the option to build these relationships. â
Q: What Are Some Of The Greatest Challenges And Rewards Of Being An Er Nurse
One of the greatest challenges of my job is losing a patient. It is something that you never get used to. Having to console a family member through the initial shock and grief doesn’t get easier over time. I often think of the moments they will miss and how their families will cope without them. Unfortunately, no training can prepare you for those moments.
My greatest rewards have been seeing how the nursing and healthcare community banded together during the most challenging times these past few years. The support from our community members was also very inspiring. We often came into work with goodies from companies that wanted to encourage and thank us for our continued work.
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List Of Emergency Room Nurse Programs
Come back soon to see a list of the best emergency room nursing programs!
Emergency room nursing is a fantastic career to get into, but without the right training and the right attitude, you may end up having a career that you are not in love with. Emergency room nursing is not right for everyone but for those that want to make a difference, those that want to be in a fast-paced career, a fast-paced setting, and want to be challenged each and every day. If this sounds like you, get started today!
Key Responsibilities Of An Emergency Room Nurse
Think youre cut out for emergency room nursing? Here are a few of the most important responsibilities youll face on a regular basis.
Emergency room staff play one of the most critical roles in a hospital setting – the frontline of triage and treatment for patients with everything from mild colds to extreme injuries. When it comes to an emergency room nurse, consider him or her the ace of hearts in a deck stacked with a whole team of medical professionals.
The duties of an emergency room nurse are vast and cover a lot of ground. However, in the fast-paced setting of an emergency room, they need to be executed quickly and cohesively. Here are 7 key responsibilities of an emergency nurse:
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Emergency Room Nurse Faqs
Q: How long does it take to be an emergency room nurse?A: You have to have at least a two-year nursing degree, but you may also have a four-year degree or more.
Q: What are the requirements for an emergency room nurse?A: You must be a registered nurse, preferably with training emergency services. After two years working in the emergency room you can obtain an Emergency Nurse Certification.
Q: Are emergency room nurses considered to be part of the critical care unit?A: Though they do care for patients that are in critical condition, an emergency nurse is not the same as a critical care nurse.
Q: Is ER nursing stressful?A: Nursing in any field is stressful, but emergency nursing may cause even more stress due to the high volume of patients and the range of difficult scenarios.
What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Working As An Er Nurse
There are a multitude of reasons to choose the ER as a specialty. For starters, you will gain a wealth of knowledge about different diagnoses and medical conditions from working with so many different patients. With that, it means you are able to learn and master a wide range of skills.
We are the IV kings and queens of the hospital, but our skills arenât limited to just that. We interpret EKGs, splint fractures, assist with cardioversion, and so much more. While this can be considered a pro or a con, I personally love the high turnover of patients and fast-paced nature of the ER. It keeps things interesting and has made me incredibly adaptable and flexible as a nurse.
You might not have the opportunity to develop long lasting relationships with patients as if you cared for them for months, but you are the person to help them in their moment of crisis. Whether a true crisis or not, patients and their families perceive whatever brought them to the hospital to be a crisis, and it is an honor that they place their trust in us to guide them through it.
The most beautiful moments I have ever witnessed in my life have happened on the job. Whether it was squeezing a new momâs hand as she birthed her first baby, or supporting a family while they told their child goodbye for the last time, moments like these ultimately have shaped the person I am today. And I am proud of that person. â
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What Does An Emergency Room Nurse Do
Alongside the interdisciplinary team, the ER nurse performs all types of tasks from icing a swollen ankle to performing CPR and treating victims of major trauma. The theme among these tasks is a through and insightful evaluation to determine the extent of injuries, and the development of an appropriate course of action to achieve stabilization, and balancing other patients needs. Common tasks include administering medication, fluid resuscitation, blood transfusions, wound care, device placement, and much more.
Any Certifications Or Credentials Needed
In addition to licensure, the Certified Emergency Nurse credential is a nationally accepted certification for ER nurses. Developed by the Emergency Nurses Association, certified nurses are considered to have attained a level of expertise on the standards and practices of emergency patient care. RNs that have CEN certification have undergone rigorous training to hone their practical and theoretical skill, to say nothing of the ethics of triaging a stream of patients in the most appropriate, ethical and effective manner. To take the CEN exam, an ER nurse must have two years of emergency experience as an RN.
See our list of post masters emergency nurse practitioner graduate certificates.
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