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Purdue University Global

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Capella University

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Columbia Southern University

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Grand Canyon University

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What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Emergency Nurse?

Learn about the education and licensing required to work as a nurse in an emergency room or another emergency care setting. Get more info about the job duties and certification options for these nursing professionals.

Career Overview

An emergency nurse is a registered nurse who evaluates and observes patients in need of emergency care. As an emergency nurse, you might work in the emergency room of a hospital or other medical care facility or aboard a medical helicopter or ambulance. You would monitor your patients' medical status, take their vital signs, and communicate with doctors and other nurses about conditions and treatments. You also might oversee interns, update patients' family members, and manage records and paperwork.

You should expect your work environment to be hectic at times, and you might be required to work long hours. You also can expect to be around patients with contagious conditions.

Important Facts About Nurses

On-the-Job Training Work experience required for advancement and specializations
Similar Occupations Paramedic, EMT, physicians assistant
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026) 15% (for all registered nurses)*
Median Salary (2019) $65,595**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Education and Licensing Requirements

To practice as a registered nurse (RN), you must be licensed by the state where you work. To obtain your license, you'll need to complete a diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree program in nursing at an accredited college. You also must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs, which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Other licensure requirements vary by state.

Though further education might not be required to work as an emergency room nurse, several colleges and universities, as well as professional organizations like the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), offer courses and programs in emergency nursing. On the graduate level, your options include certificate and Master of Science in Nursing programs, the latter of which could prepare you for work as an emergency nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Topics of study might include assessment of the critically ill, clinical pharmacology, collaborative management, and nursing research.

Certification Options

The Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses offers a handful of credentials, including Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Flight Registered Nurse, Certified Transport Registered Nurse, and Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse. Eligibility requirements vary, but in general, they include a current RN license and at least two years' experience in the certification area, as well as passage of an exam (www.bcencertifications.org).