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As a resource nurse who has worked in many specialties and units throughout the hospital setting, I have discovered that I am an ER nurse at heart.
Working in the ER is an adrenaline packed experience that requires a team of medical professionals to come together for amazing results. Through traumas, codes and septic patients we form strong bonds – after all it takes more than just one nurse to save a life!
Here are the reasons why I love being an ER nurse:
Camaraderie in the Emergency Department
What makes the ER truly exceptional are those moments when everyone comes together in a show of camaraderie – from physicians and nurses to pharmacists and techs – joining forces under pressing circumstances that demand quick thinking and action. This teamwork is the backbone that brings life-saving medical treatment, often just in time!
I have found that when I worked on med-surg floor units, nurses are typically assigned to the same patients for an entire day without much, if any, overlap with other nurses. I have also felt lonely on med surg units because I miss the camaraderie of working with other nurses.
The ER Gives Many Nurses Excellent IV Start Skills
Before becoming an ER nurse, my IV start skills were mediocre. The skill of starting IV’s quickly and correctly is so important in the ER – it often determines how fast a patient can receive life-saving medication or treatments. Over the years, I have had to start so many IV’s that my skills have greatly improved.
With the vast number of medical emergencies coming into the ER each day, it’s no wonder why nurses who work there are some of the best at starting intravenous lines. Having so many frequent opportunities to get IV access has meant a sharp increase in skill for me and other emergency room nurses – even when dealing with hard-to-stick veins.
In emergencies, ER nurses need to be able to gain access fast for testing, various medications, pain and nausea relief, IV hydration, and antibiotic therapy, among other things. Many nurses I work with have been in the ER for a decade or longer, and their IV skills are unbelievable.
In addition, several experienced ER nurses have been trained to use ultrasound techniques for those particularly challenging cases. So if you want valuable IV start skills quickly, then work where opportunity knocks most often – the ER! It’s the perfect place to hone your IV start skills and ensure every patient gets the care they need.
Diverse Patient Populations in the ER
From the tiniest newborns to centenarians, life in an ER is definitely never dull. Caring for a wide-ranging patient population provides unique opportunities and challenges with every new case. As an emergency room nurse, you’ll have plenty of chances to learn about all sorts of illnesses, injuries, and trauma – from organ transplants to autoimmune diseases – making your workdays excitingly unpredictable yet incredibly rewarding.
There is rarely a dull moment, and always something new to learn in the the ER enviornment.
Organized Chaos in the ER
It is never boring or tedious in the ER, or at least not for long! The emergency room is a fine-tuned machine, with each nurse component working semi-gracefully around one another. It might look like craziness from the outside, but the madness always has a method. I often struggle with the tediousness of tasks when working on a med surg unit. It is usually jam-packed but very task-based. The to-do lists can get a little ridiculous.
Intellectual Stimulation as a Healthcare Provider in the ER
I am a closet science geek. And I love the cerebral stimulation I get as an emergency room nurse. I have had the opportunity to see more disease states, complex injuries, and unusual diagnoses than I ever could have imagined even existed. It would not be an exaggeration to say I learn ten new things every day at work. To top it off, I am surrounded by some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. Many of my co-workers have the same drive to help people as I do. They motivate me to keep learning.
The ER Helps Me Maintain My Sense Of Humor.
Sometimes things just get so odd that I can’t help but laugh.
There are days when I see people come into the ER saying that they are dying but end up with a diagnosis of constipation.
Once, I had a college student come in because he had a 99 degree temperature. I had to explain to him that he didn’t have a fever and he was sent home.
The emergency room is also a very emotional place. Patients never want to be there and usually don’t understand, for example, why they have to wait in the hallway an hour or even much longer until we know their blood test results, or the medical team decides on a plan for them. They get upset and tired of waiting.
Sadly, sometimes they take out their frustrations on the people working the hardest to get them the medical treatment they need: the nurses. I have had so many “I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried” experiences in the emergency room to last me a lifetime.
But that’s one of the reasons I love being an ER nurse versus other parts of the hospital. It can get weird, but I’m always learning. And I’m so grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.
Emergency Room Nurse Frequently Asked Questions
Why do nurses like being an ER nurse?
There can be several reasons why someone enjoys being an ER nurse. Some common reasons include the fast-paced nature of the emergency department, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives during critical moments, the variety of cases encountered, the ability to work in a dynamic team environment, and the satisfaction of providing immediate care to patients in need.
Why is being an ER nurse rewarding?
Being an ER nurse can be rewarding for several reasons. ER nurses often have the chance to save lives, alleviate suffering, and provide critical care to patients during their most vulnerable moments. The ability to make a positive impact on patients’ lives and the gratitude expressed by patients and their families can be deeply rewarding.
Is being an ER nurse worth it?
The worthiness of being an ER nurse is subjective and depends on individual preferences and values. While the profession can be challenging due to the high-stress environment, long hours, and exposure to traumatic situations, many ER nurses find fulfillment in their work, the camaraderie with colleagues, the opportunities for professional growth, and the ability to help others during times of crisis.
What is the personality of an ER nurse?
The personality traits commonly associated with successful ER nurses include adaptability, resilience, quick thinking, effective communication skills, compassion, emotional stability, the ability to work well under pressure, and a strong desire to help others. However, it’s important to remember that individuals can possess a wide range of personalities and still excel as an ER nurse.
What are the struggles of an ER nurse?
Some common struggles faced by ER nurses include dealing with high levels of stress, long and unpredictable shifts, emotional and physical exhaustion, witnessing traumatic events, balancing work-life commitments, managing a heavy workload, and making quick decisions under pressure. Additionally, ER nurses may encounter challenging patient interactions, difficult family dynamics, and ethical dilemmas.
What is the hardest thing a nurse has to do?
The “hardest” aspect of nursing can vary depending on personal experiences and perspectives. Some nurses may find it difficult to witness the suffering or loss of patients, while others may struggle with the emotional toll of the job. Additionally, ethical dilemmas, managing complex medical cases, and dealing with difficult patients or family members can also be challenging.
How long does it take to feel comfortable as an ER nurse?
The time it takes to feel comfortable as an ER nurse can vary from person to person. It generally depends on an individual’s prior experience, the level of support and training provided, and the ability to adapt to the fast-paced and unpredictable environment. It may take several months to a couple of years for a nurse to gain confidence and feel fully comfortable in their role.
Why do ER nurses take so long?
The duration of an ER nurse’s work can be influenced by various factors. Emergency departments typically prioritize patients based on the severity of their conditions. This means that patients with life-threatening emergencies are seen first, while those with less severe conditions may have to wait longer. Additionally, the complex nature of emergency cases, unexpected surges in patient volume, limited resources, and administrative tasks can contribute to longer wait times.
What is the most stressful nursing department?
The perceived level of stress in nursing departments can vary among individuals. However, emergency departments (EDs) are often considered one of the most stressful areas in nursing due to the fast-paced environment, high patient acuity, constant decision-making, the need for quick interventions, exposure to trauma, and the pressure to provide immediate care in life-threatening situations.
Thanks for reading!
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