How to Become an Emergency Room (ER) Nurse – Career Guide
Pathways to Becoming an Emergency Room Nurse
Should I Become an Emergency Room Nurse?
Emergency Room Nurse Certifications
Emergency Room Nurse Resources
Related Nursing Careers
An ER nurse works with patients who need immediate triage and treatment. ER nurses are registered nurses, but they may have received additional specialized training that allows them to fulfill the many responsibilities that come with working in the ER.
ER nurses work in a fast-paced environment. Patients in the ER can be suffering from significant trauma, injury, or illness, and nurses need to be able to act quickly to evaluate, stabilize and treat patients who are in crisis.
When a nurse isn’t triaging patients, they’ll perform other duties in the ER. Common tasks include updating electronic health records, preparing and stocking rooms, checking medical equipment, assisting with tests like blood draws and EKGs, and more.
Most ER nurses work in hospitals or medical clinics, but ER nurses can also work in urgent care facilities, on cruise ships, as flight nurses, and on search and rescue teams.
Travel emergency nurses may work in a variety of settings. These nurses travel to emergency rooms with a need for nurses. Because the ER is a high-stress environment, it can have higher rates of burnout. Travel nurses can help by relieving staff and temporarily filling staffing vacancies.
ER nurses and trauma nurses perform very similar work. The main difference is in the type of injuries and conditions they handle. ER nurses may be prepared for almost anything. Patients may come into the ER because of burns, stroke or heart attack signs, fainting or loss of consciousness, broken limbs, severe stomach pain, and more.
A trauma center is often located in the ER and sees extreme cases where a patient’s survival is in jeopardy. Patients may come into the trauma center with gunshot or stab wounds, major burns, traumatic injuries from car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and other serious conditions that require immediate triage and treatment.