What's the Job Description of an Emergency Nurse?

Are you interested in working as a nurse? One option you might pursue is emergency nursing. As an emergency nurse, you'll work with patients of all ages who have varying illnesses, diseases, and injuries. Continue reading to learn more about the job duties and work conditions of an emergency nurse. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Emergency nurses are registered nurses who specialize in working in an emergency department. You must have completed a state-approved nursing program and obtained licensure to enter this career. According to June 2019 job postings on Monster.com, employers also prefer applicants who have one to three years of experience in nursing or emergency room care.

You'll need to have a wide range of medical skills, because you'll never know what patients you may have to treat. You might provide emergency care to young children, babies, teenagers, adults, and elderly patients all in one day. Additionally, you'll see patients suffering from all types of conditions, ranging from minor to critical.

There are several roles you may take on in the emergency room (ER). You may serve as an intake nurse, assessing patients as they come in and ranking the severity of their conditions so doctors know who to see first. You may also provide care once a patient is placed into a room, or you could serve as a transport nurse who travels with patients being brought into the emergency room or being taken to another location for care.

Important Facts About Emergency Nurses

Required Education Associate's degree
On-the-Job Training Not provided
Licensure National Council Licensure Examination (NCELX-RN)
Similar Occupations Nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, EMTs, paramedics, licensed vocational nurses, licensed practical nurses

Duties and Responsibilities

On the job, you'll rely on patients' charts and consultations with doctors to keep abreast of each patient's healthcare needs. You'll update charts, talk with patients, and assist doctors when necessary. You may apply bandages, administer medications, and assist with stabilizing patients. You'll also use your nursing skills to check vital signs, help with procedures, and ensure patients are getting the proper care.

It may be your job to talk with family members and gather information about patients when they can't speak for themselves. You'll also be responsible for following the rules, policies and regulations pertaining to patient care set by your company and the government.

Working Conditions

The ER is often a busy area, so you may see multiple patients in rapid succession. You will need to think quickly and make rational decisions in high-stress situations. You may not have time to consider what to do and must be able to proceed with patient care immediately. It's common for nurses to work long hours, and you'll likely spend a lot of time on your feet. You might also be exposed to blood, bodily fluids and infectious diseases. You may interact with patients or other people who are combative.

Generally, you can expect to deal with a variety of situations while working in the ER. In any given shift, you may work with women who are in labor, people injured in auto accidents, and patients suffering from heart attacks. Not every patient will have a critical emergency. You may also see patients in minor, non-life threatening situations, such as patients with strep throat or sprained ankles.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 2.9 million jobs held by registered nurses in 2018 (www.bls.gov). The projected job growth for this field was 15% from 2016-2026. PayScale.com reported the median annual wage for emergency room nurses in June 2019 was $65,595. Registered nurses employed by general and surgical hospitals earned an average of $77,730 a year in May 2018, per the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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