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What Skills Do I Need to Work in ER Nursing?

Every nursing field requires certain skills and abilities, and emergency room (ER) nursing is no exception. ER nursing involves working with patients, doctors, and other nurses in an emergency environment. If you think you have what it takes to work in an ER, keep reading.

Skills and Abilities to Work as an ER Nurse

In order to work as an ER nurse, you must first complete an accredited nursing program, such as an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. You must then become a licensed nurse by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or (NCLEX-RN). In order to work as an emergency room nurse, however, you must have certain skills and abilities that go above and beyond nursing.

As an ER nurse, you must be able to not only treat patients and complete tasks, but have the ability to communicate successfully during stressful situations. Your job will be to assess patient symptoms and follow doctor instructions in an ER environment. Patients, doctors, and other nurses need to be able to understand what information you are conveying to them. You also need to be able to listen to others and process information quickly so you can either carry out orders or help solve problems.

Important Facts About ER Nursing

Similar Occupations Licensed practical nurse, paramedic, physician assistant
Key Skills Compassion, physical stamina, emotional stability, critical-thinking skills
Required Education Classes in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, behavioral science
On-the-Job Training Supervised clinical experience is a necessity for all registered nurses.

Duties On the Job

While working as a registered nurse who specializes in trauma and emergency, you can expect a chaotic and fast-paced environment. The career can be very rewarding, and you may be given opportunities to save lives.

You will be responsible for talking with patients and gathering all the necessary information regarding their illnesses, injuries, and medical histories. If an exam room needs to be prepped, you will be responsible for making sure all equipment is ready for use. You will follow doctors' orders for treatment and keep patients and their families and friends well-informed of their condition. In emergency situations, you may have to perform certain medical procedures; this may include giving shots, performing CPR, and conducting physical exams. Additional duties may involve collecting lab tests for diagnostic purposes and moving patients from one location to another.

In an administrative role, you would need to handle charts, records, and other paperwork. You may also be in charge of supervising other nursing staff regarding their schedules and activities. This could include training and providing guidance to nursing students.

Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that overall employment of registered nurses could grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov ). More than 50% of nurses worked in medical and surgical hospitals, which generally house emergency rooms, in 2018. Emergency room nurses earned a median annual salary of $65,595 in 2019, according to PayScale.com.