Do you have what it takes to specialise in emergency nursing? - Part 2December 8, 2014
What does it take to be an emergency nurse?
In the previous article you read about the role of an emergency nurse. This article talks about the desirable characteristics in nurses who choose this specialty.
Ability to multitask without losing focus or getting overwhelmed
Emergency nursing can best be described as a juggling act. In this role, you will find yourself always juggling different types of patients and different types of injuries that require completely different types of treatments. The only thing that remains constant is the fact that all treatments need to be meted out on an emergency basis. The only way you will be able to handle all of this is if you are good at multi-tasking.
This may sound like a pretty straightforward requirement but the fact is not everybody is good at multitasking, not to mention when they’re in a highly volatile environment like the ER. If you are the type of person that finds it difficult to veer away from a fixed routine or who can get started on the second job only after you’ve finished the first job, you will find it difficult to work in this setting.
A good emergency nurse is one who is able to handle multiple patients at any one given time, administering different treatments to different patients, keeping accurate records for multiple patients, ordering different tests for different illnesses or injuries and managing a number of procedures and tasks at the same time without losing focus or getting overwhelmed.
Be a critical thinker
When you are dealing with so many critically ill or seriously injured patients, it is absolutely important to be able to make quick decisions to decide who needs to be attended to first. It is equally important to assign other colleagues to administer interim treatment to the other patients until you can get to them. Critical thinking is a must-have trait for anyone working in the ER.
Ability to be flexible at work
The emergency room is usually buzzing with activity almost all the time. Accidents and emergencies can happen at any time of the night or day and nurses who work in this department often find themselves having to extend their hours or take on double shifts so that all emergency patients receive much-needed life-saving treatment.
If you see this as just ‘another job’ where you would like to sign off at the end of your shift no matter what, you may want to rethink your decision to pursue this specialty.
Speed, stamina and strength are essential
As an emergency nurse you will have to be on your feet for hours while you attend to all emergencies that may have come in. You have to be quick as you rush for necessary supplies or move from one patient to the next. Many times you will be required to lift or turn patients with minimum help if everyone else is otherwise occupied. All of this requires speed, stamina and strength and it is necessary for you to stay fit and healthy if you want to keep up with the job.
Advanced training and a lot of experience
This is not a department for new, inexperienced nurses just out of nursing school or with just a few years experience under their belt. Experienced nurses are great for this job because they would have built up the resilience, expertise and critical thinking that is necessary to make quick decisions and know how to react to the various emergency situations that are typically encountered in the ER.