An emergency room (ER) nurse works in an emergency room, providing care and consultation to patients in a hospital. Emergency room nurses are specialized in performing these five critical ER duties: Clinical practice, mentoring, consulting, study and management.
The emergency room nurse evaluates patients and cares for their injuries or other health problems. With his/her medical training and the patient’s information, the emergency room nurse records symptoms, communicates them to the doctors, and assists in helping patients recover their health. Emergency room nurses record information such as the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, breathing problems, medications currently being taken, and other medical information relevant to the patient’s health. Emergency room nurses may teach patients about doctor-prescribed medications, as well as frequency and amount needed. They also need to enter the patient’s complete information in a hospital’s database and keep these data updated. However, emergency room nurses must prioritize patient care before documentation. They need to be able to perform administrative tasks, then go back to handling patient duties throughout the day. Emergency room nurses usually spend more time communicating with patients than doctors. They explain health conditions, medications and other details to patients and help them to relax and be more confident with their respective doctors. Patients and their family need to be reassured that things will be all right and the doctor is doing his best to cure the patient.
Education and Training Requirements
A bachelor’s degree in nursing is required to become an emergency nurse. Some nurses get their training through electives offered in a nursing program, while others by rotation of responsibilities in their schedule as nurses. All nurses need to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
Good judgment skills, patience, upper body strength and calmness are qualities emergency room nurses must have.
Working in an emergency room is a stressful experience and can expose oneself to contagious diseases. Emergency room nurses work a 40-hour schedule. Some overtime work is required and night shifts are part of the work. The job requires standing on your feet for long periods. Heavy lifting may also be required, which could make ER nurses prone to back problems.
An emergency room nurse makes $48,000 annually on average. Factors such as size of company, location, nature of the industry, benefits and experience may cause salaries to vary considerably among emergency room nurses.