Trauma Nurse Salary in 2023

Trauma Nurse Salary in 2023

Trauma nursing is a rewarding field that covers many different injuries and illnesses allows for specialization in a particular type of trauma. This nursing discipline takes determination, passion, and dedication and is an excellent career choice for the right kind of person. 

Trauma nurses are working on the frontline, caring for patients who need acute care for trauma. These healthcare professionals are the first person to see a patient when they come into the emergency room and are required to be calm and make expert decisions under pressure. 

If you’re interested in helping people recover from trauma, it’s crucial to find out what it takes to become a trauma nurse practitioner. Let’s look at the education and licensing requirements to enter trauma nursing. We’ll also tell you about salary ranges and job duties to help you determine whether a trauma nurse job is right for you.

Where trauma nurses work

Trauma nurses are employed in various facilities where traumatic injury or severe illness is treated, including hospital emergency rooms and critical care units. Trauma nurses can also work in emergency flight teams and are responsible for providing urgent care to patients. 

Many people are confused about the difference between an er nurse and a trauma nurse. While the two career paths are related, there are differences. An emergency nurse will focus on looking after patients when they enter the emergency department, while trauma nurses can be more specialized. They provide care for patients with specific life-threatening issues, including severe injuries and wounds.

Ambulance transport or flight nursing

Ambulance or flight trauma nurses work on the front line and bring their expertise and care to patients in emergency situations. Nurses care for people who have been severely injured, attached, or suffered from a work-related injury or become seriously ill. The role of the trauma nurse is to be part of the first response team and access the patient, then provide care on the way to the hospital or emergency facility. These nurses prioritize stabilization and aim to keep the patient safe and comfortable so that their condition doesn’t deteriorate before they get to the hospital for further treatment. 


Trauma Nurses commonly work in the emergency room or a trauma unit in the hospital. They care for people who have been brought in by emergency transport and continue to stabilize and care for the trauma patient. These nurses are responsible for working with doctors and other health care specialists to provide lifesaving treatment to patients. 

Intensive care units

In the intensive care unit, the trauma nurse’s job consists of monitoring and treating patients who are in a critical condition. Patients are often sent to the ICU after having an operation or if there have been unforeseen complications.

Trauma centers

Trauma nurses often work in specialized trauma centers, such as burns units. These medical facilities provide special care for those suffering from traumatic illnesses or injuries. Trauma centers are ranked from I to IV depending on the type of treatments they provide. Trauma Nurses employed in trauma centers have the same responsibilities as those working in a hospital. 

The responsibilities of a trauma nurse

The primary responsibility of a trauma nurse is to deal with critically ill and injured patients from the initial assessment until the patient is discharged to another ward. These medical professionals see a wide variety of patients daily and therefore need to be experienced in various urgent care medical procedures.

Trauma nurses are responsible for providing acute care to patients in the emergency room or trauma department. They will first assess the patient’s condition, work to stabilize, and make the patient comfortable, which often involves wound care. The trauma nurse will then order diagnostic tests and prescribe treatment or medication to improve the patient’s health. 

Trauma nurses will monitor patient’s conditions by regularly checking their vital signs. They will also provide direct medical care, including giving out medications and changing dressings on wounds.

Registered trauma nurses will also educate the patient about their condition. They may also work with the patient’s family, so they are prepared to care for the injured patient once they’re ready to be discharged from the hospital.

Trauma nurses are also able to perform minor surgical procedures and make diagnoses. They will order or perform diagnostic tests and are then able to evaluate the results. Most trauma nurses work under the supervision of a doctor and can prescribe medications and treatments. They also collaborate with other medical professionals to ensure that each patient receives the correct care. 

Trauma Nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career as no two emergency cases are ever the same. Nurses, therefore, need a broad knowledge of how to treat various traumatic injuries. They must also be aware of any likely complications or health risks that could occur.  

What skills are required for trauma nurses?

Trauma nurses are sometimes called ED nurses or emergency room nurses. These medical professionals are required to be highly competent at their jobs and confident in their medical abilities whether they’re working in an emergency room or trauma hospital. 

Trauma nurses are faced with life-or-death situations daily and are required to remain calm. They are highly skilled and have received specialized training, which allows them to recognize and intervene in an emergency. Doctors working in trauma care are very reliant on nurses, so they need to be very competent and confident. Trauma nurses also need to be able to make a decision at a moment’s notice as hesitating could put the patient’s life in danger. 

Nurses working in the emergency room or with trauma patients must be very compassionate and empathetic individuals. They must also understand why people act the way they do and be able to help diffuse challenging situations. ED nurses are often verbally abused by angry or distressed patients and family members. They are also cussed at or spat upon but must stay calm and not take the situation personally. 

Trauma nurses need to be resilient and not let their own emotions affect their job. They need to stay calm in difficult situations, and if a patient dies in one room, they’ll need to carry on as there will still be other patients that require their care.

What education is required to be a trauma nurse?

To become a trauma nurse, you’ll first need to train as a registered nurse (RN), which involves completing a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The BSN is a general nursing program that will give you a good foundation for building your career. You’ll study biology, anatomy and gain clinical experience. 

After completing a BSN program, you’ll need to take National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is available through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. This is a multiple-choice exam, which, once you pass, will allow you to practice as a registered nurse in America.  

You’ll then be able to specialize in an area of medicine that you’re interested in, and become a trauma nurse, travel nurse, emergency room nurse , pediatric nurse or psychiatric nurse. These specialisms require that you complete further education. 

Alternatively, you may like to study for a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The master’s program allows you to choose a specialization. If you’re looking to become a trauma nurse, you will select the acute care for trauma nursing practitioner track. You’ll then be able to focus your studies on the nursing techniques required for treating trauma patients. 

If you want to do further studies after your master’s degree, you can gain extra certification from either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, which both offer certificates in acute trauma care. To sit these exams, you’ll need an RN license and a master’s degree with the acute care specialty. 

Average salary for a trauma nurse

Trauma nurses are one of the highest-paid nursing careers. These nurses have a pay range that’s very similar to emergency room nurses. They generally earn an average annual salary of $85,100 to $107,000, depending on hours worked. 

The average salary for a trauma nurse varies depending on which state they live and work in, the role of the job, and whether additional education has been achieved. Experience and number of years in the position will also be taken into account when deciding where a nurse falls on the pay scale. Overtime is often available in nursing roles for practitioners who want to increase their income. 

There are often other factors that should be considered when working out what your salary is likely to be, such as the subsidies and the cost of living in your state. There are often pay differentials which will change the salary slightly. For example, pay may be added to a nurse’s basic wage for doing night or evening shifts, taking on additional hours, or mentoring students.  

What is the starting salary range for a trauma nurse?

The average starting salary for a trauma nurse varies depending on the state, previous experience, and education. It generally falls between $47,120 and $62,000. Graduates are usually able to progress quickly in their careers and will soon be earning the average salary. 

What is the average salary of a trauma nurse by state?

The salary of a trauma nurse varies depending on the state you live in. This is because some states have a higher cost of living than others. In states where housing and transport costs are high, such as in California or New York, wages are higher. States such as Texas have a lower average cost of living, and therefore, trauma nurses working in Texas will receive less compensation. Here’s a list of average salary for a trauma nurse by state: 

California: $96,470

New York: $80,055 to $108,407

Texas: $76,909

Florida: $69,718

North Carolina: $68,780

New Hampshire: $105,271

Wyoming: $96,625

West Virginia: $94,184

How does the average trauma nurse salary compare to the average RN salary?

Trauma nurses earn more than registered nurses working in other departments as they have completed additional education and work in a fast-paced, stressful environment. The average salary for an RN is about $75,510 annually. However, this figure varies depending on years of experience, the state the nurse works in, and years of experience in the job.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, specialized nurses earn more. In general, trauma nurses will earn about 15% more than an RN, which equates to $10,770 annually. 

Skills that could affect trauma nurse salaries

Many registered nurses (RN) or trauma nurses say that they were initially attracted to nursing as they were looking for a caring position that had exceptional pay. Graduates can get a job with a good salary straight out of nursing school. There are also many other benefits and subsidies that come with the job. If you’re ambitious and looking to advance with your career, many additional certificates allow you to attain a good position and competitive pay. 

If you have leadership skills and are looking to improve your salary, you may like to get into a managerial position. Trauma Nurses can work as a coordinator or nurse manager in a hospital emergency room. The average trauma nurse coordinator can be as much as $91,928.

If you’re great at encouraging and mentoring others, you may like to get involved with education. This would include gaining a doctorate in nursing, and you’d then be able to be a professor, an assistant professor, or a guest lecturer at a university. You could also help students gain clinical experience in the trauma unit by working as a nurse educator. 

What certifications can you earn to increase your salary as a trauma nurse?

If you’re looking for further educational opportunities that will increase your salary as a trauma nurse, you may like to opt for one or more of the following: 

Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)

Those looking to work with babies can take the neonatal resuscitation program (NRP), which has been developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in accordance with the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines. Taking this certification will teach you emergency care and, in particular, how to resuscitate newborn babies. 

This is an excellent specialization if you’re looking to change your career or add to your existing experience. It’s perfect for nurses who work in the emergency wards of a children’s hospital, in neonatal intensive care, or in labor and delivery.

This certification is a four-hour course with a multiple-choice exam. It generally costs about $140 but may be free for some nurses who are already employed by neonatal intensive care units. 

Basic Life Support (BLS)

All registered nurses, including trauma nurses, are required to have a basic life support certification which must be regularly updated. If you’re working in acute care, your certification mustn’t lapse. You should also ensure that you obtain your certificate from an organization that has been approved by the American Healthcare Association (AHA). 

After completing this course, you’ll have a certification that lasts for two years. After two years, you’ll need to do the course again to refresh your memory and ensure your skills are on par. It generally costs about $50 to gain a BLS certificate. 

Emergency Room Pediatric Course (ENPC)

If you like working in a fast-paced environment on the front line but wish to specialize in the care of children and infants, you may want to obtain an ENPC certification. 

This certificate is often required for nurses working in emergency rooms that accept children as well as NICUs. In some cases, your employer may cover the course cost. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay approximately $300. The course takes about sixteen hours to complete, and once you’ve passed your certificate, it will last for four years.

Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)

The advanced cardiovascular life support certification is another course offered by the AHA. Trauma nurses working in emergency rooms or intensive care are required to complete this certification. Even if you don’t have a job yet, it may be worth taking this certificate to help you stand out from the competitors and advance your career. The course will teach you how to identify patients’ heart rhythms, including identifying a basic arrhythmia.

Most ER employers will pay for trauma nurses to complete this certificate. If you plan to pay for it yourself, it will generally cost about $150, and the certificate will last two years. 

STABLE program

The “STABLE” program teaches nurses the six parameters of assessment required to be performed when accessing a patient’s overall stability. STABLE stands for sugar, temperature, airway, blood pressure, lab work, and emotional support. 

The STABLE program is an eight-hour course, which has a cost of approximately $150. After completion, you’ll receive a certificate that lasts two years. This certificate will show prospective employers that you possess crucial nursing skills and can access a patient.

National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)

As trauma nurses are required to work with people who have a chronic illness, you’ll likely come across stroke patients, so having an NIHSS certification can be advantageous.

The good thing about this certification is that it’s totally free for all RN’s. You can also study online and complete the certificate at your own pace. The certification will teach you how to assess a stroke patient and determine how severe the stroke was. The course will provide you with a two-year certificate that will make you more valuable to potential employers. 

How much can specialized skills impact your salary as a trauma nurse?

Gaining additional skills and certifications will make you more marketable in the job market. While not all certificates will increase your salary as some are compulsory to the job, they will show employees that you’re determined and willing to further your education. Getting extra certificates will make you stand out from competitors and mean that you’re more likely to get a job. 

In some instances, extra certifications will allow you to enter your profession at a higher position, meaning a higher salary. In other cases, specialized skills will allow you to gain a promotion. Nurses with specialized skills and have furthered their education are likely to earn an additional 10 to 20% higher salary. 

Median salary for trauma nurses by career experience

The starting salary for trauma nurses is generally considered relatively low by more senior staff. However, there are likely to be many opportunities to earn more, and the pay will increase the longer the nurse stays in the job. 

Nurses that advance their education will have better career prospects and earn a higher salary. Many nurses decide to train as an acute care nurse practitioner. Candidates will be able to take this specialization after completing a postgraduate course. 

Trauma nurse practitioners’ salaries are likely to be a lot higher than emergency trauma nurses. These nurses have a median annual salary of $99,820. There is also more scope for employment as trauma nurse practitioners can work in critical care units, the emergency room and burn centers, or other specific trauma units. 

Job outlook 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a rise in all types of nursing jobs over the next decade. Nursing careers are one of the fastest-growing occupations across America. This is because the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age and needs more health care. 

Nurses will be needed to focus on preventative care and help with trauma and illnesses, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiac disease. There are seven states that are likely to have a significant nursing shortage by 2030, including California, Texas, New Jersey, South Carolina, Alaska, Georgia, and South Dakota. Now is an excellent time to earn your nursing degree and specialize in acute trauma if you’re thinking of becoming a nurse in one of these states. 

Alternative careers

There are many roles similar to trauma nursing, including occupational therapists and nurse anesthetists. 

Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists work with patients who have a life-limited illness, have been injured, or have a disability. They are responsible for developing treatment plans and help patients cope better with daily tasks.

Nurse anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists work with surgeons and administer anesthesia during operations. They monitor patient’s vital signs during surgery to ensure they remain safe and comfortable. 

Where can you find the best trauma nurse jobs?

After you’ve completed your degree and certification, you’ll be ready to start looking for your first job as a trauma nurse. Many excellent websites advertise trauma nursing positions, including indeed. You may also like to send a copy of your resume to your local hospital or trauma unit as they may have positions coming up. 

It’s also a good idea to stay informed in your field and up to date with the latest treatments, which will help you advance your career. Here are some ways you can keep up with the trends in your field: 

Subscribe to the Journal of Trauma Nursing

The society of trauma nurses publishes a magazine that will allow you to stay updated with the latest developments in acute nursing care. 

Join professional organizations

Many professional organizations for trauma nurses will give you access to job boards, allow you to find a mentor, and provide other resources. Here are some organizations that may be able to provide help and advice about finding a job as a trauma nurse: 

Society of Trauma Nurses (STN)

The STN organizes annual conferences and publishes research in the form of a journal and blog posts. It’s also an excellent resource if you’re looking to be matched with a mentor.

Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)

The ENA provides further education opportunities for nurses and career advancement tools.

American Trauma Society (ANS)

If you’re looking for advice about becoming a trauma nurse, educational opportunities, or the chance to network with other trauma professionals, check out the ANS website. The organization also hosts conferences and provides educational materials.

Air & Surface Transport Nurses Association (ASTN)

ASTN provides information for anyone looking for a career in critical care transportation. 


Trauma nurses work in fast-paced environments and need to be able to stay calm in stressful situations. They can work in trauma units or in the emergency room and may see gunshot wounds, stabbings, or be required to treat patients with serious illness, those who have been in a road traffic accident or suffered from industrial injury.

While there is never a dull moment as a trauma nurse, it takes a certain type of person to do the role. Trauma nurses need to make decisions quickly, have good communication skills, and be confident in their nursing abilities. 

The role takes passion and dedication, as you’ll need to train for five years before being fully qualified. Trauma nurses receive one of the highest salaries of all nursing occupations. There is also plenty of opportunities to change roles or further your education. 

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