If you’re looking for a nursing career that’s fast-paced, rewarding, challenging, and allows you to expand your medical knowledge, you may like to consider becoming an Emergency Room ER nurse. Emergency nurses treat a wide range of conditions daily, including accidents, injury, chronic and acute illness, and other health emergencies.
These nurses are employed in various situations, including ambulances, hospital emergency rooms, or even helicopters, and provide urgent care. Emergency room nurses care for patients of all ages and need to be clear-headed to work in a busy and often noisy environment. It takes a special person to work in ER nursing. Let’s look at the career option and salary expectations of an emergency room nurse.
The primary role of the emergency room nurse is to assess and stabilize patients. Most patients will have acute symptoms, and nurses must ensure that they are cared for and made safe and comfortable. ER nurses also help determine which level of care is most appropriate for the patient.
Emergency nursing can be very challenging because most patients arrive at ER with acute symptoms and without a diagnosis. Often, they have pain or other symptoms but no real idea what’s causing the problem. Emergency nurses are required to work quickly and thoroughly during examinations. They’ll make the patient comfortable by using medical equipment to monitor the patients.
Most emergency nurses are employed in hospitals in the emergency department or urgent care facility. There are also opportunities for nurses to work in the military. Nurses can be flown into areas of armed conflict.
Working in ER takes a particular type of nurse. You’ll need the correct amplitude for the job. An emergency nurse’s qualities and personality are often just as important as the medical skills they’ve learned.
Emergency room nurses often work in a hectic environment. While there may be quieter periods, the nurse must be able to work quickly when necessary. This involves more than just working at a faster pace as the nurse still needs to be thorough and provide adequate care to each patient. ER nurses need to be able to make decisions quickly when dealing with life-or-death situations. Sometimes even hesitating for a second could make a difference to the patient’s outcome.
Nurses need to quickly assess the patient’s current state and decide how to stabilize the patient and which treatment is required. The solution must come naturally to the nurse so that they don’t waste time by stopping to think about what has to be done.
While speed is essential, emergency nurses will often have to slow down to focus on a single patient and provide the correct care.
Sometimes an emergency room can seem chaotic, especially during the holiday season or if there’s been a significant accident or incident in the locality. For example, if there was a multi-vehicle collision, a riot, or a construction accident.
Emergency nurses have to cope with pressure and challenges, which can be stressful. A good nurse will be able to remain calm even when things get hectic, as the patients’ conditions are likely to be serious and life-threatening.
There may also be patients that are in a state of panic, but it’s vital that nurses and other medical professionals can remain calm and cool-headed, or the patients may panic even more. Being able to stay calm will have an effect on patients and mean that they are more likely to calm down, which will be better for other nurses and doctors that provide treatment after the patients transferred to another ward.
Emergency room nurses are often required to multitask, which requires good organizational skills. Nurses are often treating several patients at once and will have to move between them simultaneously. Sometimes ER nurses are caring for between ten and twenty patients.
Emergency nurses mustn’t mix patients’ conditions or treatments up, so they need to have good memories and keep adequate medical records. This also requires focus and good time-management skills. The nurse needs to spend enough time with each patient and can’t neglect anyone. Some patients will need immediate treatment, so the nurse will need to be good at prioritizing what needs to be done first.
Nurses have to handle multiple cases at once. Patients don’t generally trick into the emergency room one at a time. Some days will be very hectic and a lot busier than others. However busy the department is, ER nurses will need to be at the ready.
Emergency nurses are required to be confident individuals. They need to have good communication skills and be outgoing, agreeable, and open. These nurses are required to communicate with a wide variety of patients from different backgrounds honestly and directly. They must remain friendly and able to stay unbiased. It’s vital that ER nurses have good listening skills and look at each patient’s condition objectively.
A critical care nurse must also be able to adapt and deal with change quickly easily. Hospitals often update their policies, and nurses may have to change how they work. There will also be critical situations where a patient’s health deteriorates, and immediate attention is required.
A certified emergency nurse will often see traumatic cases in the emergency room. Nurses can’t let their emotions affect their job or linger over patients’ deaths. When a patient dies due to severe illness or injury, the nurse must carry on and can’t let their emotions impact the care they provide for other patients.
ER nurses also need to be patient as they may need to deal with patients who have challenging behavior. Sometimes patients come into ER cursing or screaming. The nurse shouldn’t take the patient’s behavior personally. Being an emergency nurse is stressful, and every shift is different. Nurses never really known what kind of patients they’re going to have to deal with.
Becoming an ER nurse involves dealing with a range of people who are suffering from various physical and psychological health problems. Some personality traits and soft skills help nurses to remain calm in a hectic environment and provide good quality care.
As well as being mentally strong, ER nurses need to be fit and healthy. The job is very physically demanding, so nurses need to be strong and flexible. Nurses often don’t get to sit down during their shift and may not even have time for a break. Emergency nurses also work long shifts of between eight and twelve hours.
If you decide to specialize in emergency nursing, you’ll need to take good care of yourself as you won’t be able to care for others if you’re not physically and mentally strong. ER nurses, therefore, need enough physical stamina to complete their shifts.
Registered nurse practitioners must pay attention to their own needs and take care of their body and mind.
ER nurses need to be compassionate and have empathy with their patients. While compassion is good, it’s essential that nurses can separate their own emotions from the situation. They need a balance between providing comfort and empathy and not getting too involved with the patient’s situation.
Empathy will allow you to do the job to the best of your abilities and provide each patient with the care they deserve.
Nurses are required to have excellent people skills as they need to communicate effectively with patients, doctors, other health care professionals, and patient’s families.
Patients often tell nurses additional information that they haven’t told the doctor. ER nurses must be able to communicate effectively with doctors and need to accurately relay information that the doctor may otherwise have missed. This will allow the nurse to collaborate with the doctor and other medical professionals such as the physician assistant, trauma nurse, or ICU nurse to find the best treatment option.
ER nurses also need good people skills to reassure or calm patients down. Often patients waiting to be seen or in triage become impatient. The nurse mustn’t say or do anything to aggravate patients and make the situation worse.
Excellent time-management skills are important for all nursing roles. ER nurses must effectively manage their time to complete tasks such as patient care, cleaning up rooms, updating medical records, and restocking supplies.
Multi-tasking can be challenging for anyone who lacks time-management skills. Nurses will also need to prioritize their responsibilities. Good time management and multi-tasking skills will help ER nurses perform better in their roles.
Emergency nursing is all about prioritizing patient care. A patient who has a fractured wrist isn’t as high a priority as someone with shortness of breath or someone who has stroke symptoms. Accessing patients and acting quickly to decide who to prioritize is a big part of the job.
As well as assessing and treating patients, ER nurses are required to keep medical records and other documentation up to date. They will enter patient information into a computer when they get a free moment. This will include viewing the patients’ medical history and adding treatments or medications that were administered in the emergency room. Symptoms also need to be recorded as well as the results of any tests or scans.
Nurses must ensure medical reports are accurately updated so that they can be passed onto other nurses or medical professionals when the patients are discharged, or the nurse’s shift is over.
Those working in emergency medicine are responsible for triaging patients. This means the nurse has to assess new patients as they come in and determine the severity of their wounds or illness. Nurses need good observation skills, first aid skills, and the ability to deal with different symptoms and conditions. They need to be able to use various treatments to make the patient stable and safe.
Various clinic skills will be required daily, from putting patients on an IV drip, carrying out blood tests, checking vital signs, and emergency first aid to stop the flow of blood or resuscitate patients. ER nurses are working on the front line and require excellent clinical skills as well as confidence in their nursing abilities.
Emergency nurses are also required to have a vast knowledge of different medications and symptoms of various diseases and conditions. This knowledge will help the nurse rule out diagnoses, and they’ll be able to alert the doctor of a severe illness.
If you’re planning a career as an emergency nurse working on the front line, there are many specialties available. While most emergency nurses are employed in ER, there are many other opportunities. Gaining extra certifications will allow you to have a diverse and interesting career working in a different emergency specialization. Here are some occupations that you may like to consider:
Emergency nurses can also specialize in the transportation of critically ill patients. Sometimes patients who are seriously ill will be moved to a specialist hospital for treatment. This role involves accompanying patients by plan or road from one hospital to another treatment location.
The responsibilities of an emergency transport nurse include:
To become a flight or transport nurse, you’ll need to qualify as an RN but completing a degree and becoming licensed. You can then take a specialism in either flight emergency nursing (CFRN) or critical care ground transport (CTRN) nursing.
These nurses specialize in treating children and teenagers during medical emergencies. Some ER departments are dedicated to the care of children. This role involves assessing and stabilizing the condition of children who are critically ill or have been injured.
To get into emergency pediatric care, you’ll need to first qualify as an RN, gain experience in emergency care and then complete a pediatric emergency nursing (CPEN) certification.
Many hazardous industries such as power plants or construction companies employ industrial nurses. Many employ nurses with experience of working in hospital emergency departments. This may be an interesting specialization for anyone who wants to learn more about caring for injuries and common accidents caused by heavy machinery. Industrial nurses are beneficial to large companies as they help stabilize patients and are on hand quickly without the need to transport employees to the hospital.
Many nurses choose to take further study to become an ER nurse practitioner. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers a certification (ENP-BC) to candidates with a master’s degree and two years’ full-time work experience as a nurse practitioner. Previous employment must involve at least 2,000 hours of emergency care. ER nurse practitioners must complete a certain amount of continuing education hours throughout their careers and may be asked to meet additional requirements.
Senior nurses who have gained years of experience in the emergency room may choose to move into nursing management or become nurse educators. These roles generally have higher salaries and require either a master’s degree or a doctorate in nursing.
To become an emergency nurse, you’ll need to do a bachelor of science(BSN) degree in nursing to earn a general nursing qualification. This allows you to become a registered nurse. This is the route most nurses take. They will then be required to take specialisms in emergency nursing and pass certification before gaining employment as an emergency nurse.
Other routes to becoming a nurse include earning an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN). Graduates of the ASN or BSN are then required to complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). After passing this certification, employment can be sought in a hospital or clinic as an RN.
After gaining experience working as a registered nurse, you’ll be able to specialize in emergency nursing by doing further training. Many hospitals and emergency departments have formal internship or work experience programs aimed at nurses looking to specialize as ER nurses.
As well as gaining work-based training, you’ll also need to complete a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) credential. Before you can sit the exam, you’ll need at least two years of experience working in the emergency department. Re-certification is required by passing an exam every four years or doing enough continuing education hours.
The cost of an average Bachelor of science nursing degree is between $40,00 and $100,00. It can be difficult to accurately estimate how much a nursing degree will cost as tuition rates vary significantly. Most people will consider the high earning potential of a nursing career, which will outweigh the cost of nursing school.
A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) takes four years to complete and costs at least $40,000 for tuition fees. However, tuition in more expensive schools can cost between $80,000 and $100,000. You’ll need to pass 120 credits to gain a BSN degree, and most universities charge per credit.
It’s also worth noting that many public schools have more affordable tuition, and financial help is available in the form of scholarships, student loans, and grants. There is also the opportunity to benefit from lowered tuition rates for members of the military or veterans. In some states, there are also government-sponsored finances available to nursing students.
Some colleges offer reduced rates to high school graduates that have achieved high GPAs or a dual credit. As well as considering tuition fees, nursing candidates will also need to pay for additional equipment and products such as lab and technology fees, insurance, immunizations, and scrubs. Students that decide to leave home and live on campus will also need to pay for food and accommodation.
Once you’ve graduated and gained employment as an RN, you’ll have the opportunity to further your education. Most employers will provide financial help for further training related to employment. If the hospital you work in has a shortage of staff in one department, you may be eligible for the total cost of tuition fees.
The average salary for an emergency nurse is approximately $77,263, which is slightly more than the $73,300 per year for an RN. Annual salary can vary depending on education, experience, years in the job, and the state or area you live.
The salary for an emergency room nurse is generally between $68,996 and $85,814 annually. Those with additional qualifications and more experience typically have higher-paid roles.
An emergency room nurse manager has increased responsibilities and receives higher compensation. These professionals generally earn between $75,689 and $102,396, depending on what type of facility they work in and which state they’re located. The national average is usually around $86,362.
The average emergency room nurse salary varies slightly by state and takes into account the cost of living and house prices. Here’s a list of some of the places that have high-paying roles for emergency nurses.
The American healthcare industry is facing many challenges in recruiting and retaining emergency room nurses. In many states, there’s an acute shortage of nurses which can put patients’ lives at risk. Many states have a shortage of all types of nurses, and the situation got worse due to the coronavirus pandemic when the number of people needing care dramatically increased.
Hospitals in approximately twenty-five states have a shortage of medical professionals, including emergency nurses, doctors, and other professionals. States with a shortage of emergency room nurses include Texas, Arizona, central Missouri, and Iowa.
Getting into any type of nursing career at the moment is a good choice as career prospects for nursing is generally favorable. Nursing is a varied career with massive opportunities for growth and to further your studies.
Emergency nursing is expected to grow by about 12 percent in the next decade due to increased demand for emergency services, an aging population, and new medical techniques and medications. Growth in the nursing industry is likely to be faster than average for occupations in America.
There are many great institutions and associations that support emergency nurses and provide career advice for those looking to enter the profession. Check out some of the following if you’re a school leaver who wants to become an emergency nurse, are already trained as an RN, and are looking to specialize in acute care, or are looking for a career change.
The American Academy of Emergency Nurse Practitioners (AAP) has plenty of content and career advice that will help you decide whether emergency nursing is the right specialization for you.
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) has advice about how to advance your career. You’ll find a blog, a careers section, and even a podcast on the website.
The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) is an excellent resource for nurses of all disciplines. The site is packed full of careers and educational advice. There’s a student section with up-to-date careers guidance and a job board for those looking for a hospitalist or RN position.
For those who have already become a licensed RN or emergency nurse and are searching for a job, Nurse.com has an excellent job board. The website also allows you to search by location, employer, or job type, and you can also receive alerts by email when a position becomes available. You’ll also find continuing education opportunities on the nurse.com website, including free classes.
The ANA has a career center where you’ll find helpful advice and job listings, including emergency nursing vacancies. You can also use the site to network with other nursing professionals and determine what a career as an emergency nurse involves. There’s a regularly updated blog and forums and advice on issues such as ethics, nursing policy, and nurse abuse.
If you’re looking to further your education and gain certification as an emergency nurse, visit the CCI website. The institute provides training via webinars and awards for nursing credentials in various disciplines, including emergency nursing, emergency nurse management, transportation, and travel nursing.
Emergency nursing is a demanding yet very rewarding career. If you’re able to cope with stress, are looking to make a difference in the lives of others, and think you can cope with life on the front line, a career as an ER nurse may be for you.
Candidates who have the right aptitude for emergency nursing are likely to find that there are many opportunities available. There are also several ways to progress in emergency nursing by studying for additional certification. Further study can help nurses gain new skills, diversify and increase their salaries.
Many states have a shortage of ER nurses, so now is an ideal time to consider becoming an emergency nurse.