For registered nurses seeking a fast-paced nursing environment, a career as an emergency room nurse could be an ideal fit. Emergency room registered nurses are certified professionals trained in handling emergency department patients experiencing trauma or needing critical care. Continue reading to learn more about emergency room nurses – including what they do and how to become one.
What Is An Emergency Room Registered Nurse?
Emergency room registered nurses, also known as ER nurses, are licensed registered nurses responsible for the care of patients within a hospital’s emergency department. ER nurses must be quick thinkers, resilient under pressure, and effective in multitasking and communication. Emergency room nurses must also be confident in various nursing skills and adaptable to meet the needs of multiple patients facing everything from minor injuries to severe illnesses and injuries.
What Does An ER Nurse Do?
Emergency room nurses practice the same skills as registered nurses within a healthcare setting – including various administrative and clinical tasks. Since the emergency department often sees a variety of patients, ER nurses have the chance to utilize all of the skills they know in a sometimes fast-paced and high-intensity environment. Here are some of the tasks ER nurses perform:
- Triaging patients as they are admitted into the emergency room.
- Stabilizing patients who are critically ill or seriously injured.
- Preparing and administering IVs, tracheotomies, and intubations if necessary.
- Cleaning and dressing severe wounds.
- Communicating patient conditions with physicians, specialists, and other hospital wings.
Where Do Emergency Room Nurses Work?
Emergency Room nurses primarily work in hospital emergency rooms or triage centers. ER nurses can also work in other hospital areas – such as intensive care or burn units. Depending on the size of the hospital and how many patients it sees through its emergency department, ER nursing availability can vary. Sometimes, ER nurses can work outside ER departments – branching into ambulatory response teams, flight transport teams, clinics, and urgent care centers.
How Do You Become An ER Nurse?
Becoming an emergency room registered nurse requires post-secondary schooling, licensure, and optional certifications. The first step is becoming a registered nurse through a two-year associate’s program (ADN) or a four-year bachelor’s program (BSN). While both degree paths can lead to a job as ER nurse, many employers prefer a BSN due to students receiving additional schooling and knowledge in clinical and administrative nursing practice applications.
Following graduation, BSN graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), a critical step to becoming registered nurses. After passing the NCLEX, nurses can pursue placement in emergency nursing or gain general experience as a registered nurse in another wing or department while working toward certification. Although certification is not required, it can help set candidates apart who wish to pursue a career in emergency medicine. While there are many certifications nurses can get to prepare them for a career in emergency nursing, the Certified Emergency Nurse or Trauma Certified Registered Nurse are good places to start.
What Is the Career Outlook of an ER Nurse
Career outlooks and placements for emergency room registered nurses can vary depending on a nurse’s education, experience, and certifications. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing jobs are expected to grow 6% between 2021 and 2031. In addition, salaries for emergency room nurses can vary depending on location and education. Nationwide, ZipRecruiter reports that ER nurses can expect $102,665 annually, higher than the average RN salary in most areas.
Emergency room nursing can be intensive, high-stress, and very demanding of nurses. However, pursuing an ER nurse career can open doors to new and exciting career opportunities in emergency medicine, trauma medicine, and more. Take the first step to becoming an ER nurse by exploring the University of Providence’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs. Our programs offer opportunities for aspiring nurses out of high school, career changers, and currently licensed RNs seeking a BSN.