Do you have what it takes to specialise in emergency nursing? - Part 1December 5, 2014
Emergency nursing is quite different from most other nursing specialties. This is a fast-paced, high-pressure field where almost every patient you attend to is in dire need of immediate medical attention to prevent their condition from worsening. In some of the most severe cases, the slightest delay in receiving treatment or a wrong diagnosis could result in permanent damage or even death. This is a huge responsibility and it takes a special kind of person to be able to handle this kind of pressure every working day.
Responsibilities of an emergency nurse
Unlike other specialist nurses, emergency nurses do not take care of a fixed population or a fixed set of problems. Any person who is in need of immediate care is sent to the emergency wing of the hospital to be treated by the emergency care team, which includes trained emergency doctors and nurses.
Individuals who seek emergency treatment could range in age from new-borns to the very elderly. Even the type of problems could vary from automobile accidents, accidental choking and burn victims to people suffering from a drug overdose or a psychotic problem. Emergency nurses often say that the only thing that’s routine in their specialty is that there is no routine. As an emergency nurse, you never know what’s going to be coming in through that door in the next few minutes. There will be days when within a span of one hour you could go from stemming the blood flow from an accident victim to bandaging a head wound and then moving on to treating severe burns, pumping out the stomach of someone who has overdosed and cleaning up a bullet wound.
With so many different demographics to handle during any one work shift, it is vital for emergency nurses to be knowledgeable about a wide variety of problems in individuals across all age groups. In addition to being knowledgeable about different types of emergencies and life-saving treatments, these nurses also need to keep a cool head regardless of the surrounding chaos and to be able to think critically and make snap decisions on the fly.
Does this sound like something you would like to do? If a career in emergency nursing appeals to you, part two of this series covers the personality traits that are considered desirable in this field. This will help you to do a self-analysis to determine whether or not you have what it takes to pursue this path.