March 4, 2015
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Before you can begin your career as an ER nurse you must first be a qualified registered nurse with advanced training in providing emergency care. Orientation for ER nurses is generally longer and more extensive as compared to most other specialty areas. Having prior experience as a paramedic or an emergency medical technician is an added asset and in some facilities, it is an essential requirement.
Other certifications that you will be required to obtain include Certification as a Trauma Nurse, Paediatric Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
It cannot be emphasised enough – emergency room nursing is challenging. As an ER nurse, you must work quickly and efficiently as most cases you encounter will be life and death situations.
ER nurses must have a diverse set of skills. To work in this specialty, in addition to possessing expertise about treating a wide array of diseases and injuries you must also be compassionate and emotionally stable and have outstanding communication, leadership and critical thinking skills. Unlike nurses working in more structured specialties such as neonatal care or cardiac care, as an ER nurse you must know a little about every area of medicine and be able to quickly determine if a patient’s condition is life threatening or merely uncomfortable. While many professionals thrive in their challenging roles, the high-stakes nature of this specialty can be nerve-wracking and emotionally draining. Staying objective in the face of raw emotions and severe physical trauma is a crucial skill for emergency nurses to be able to do their job efficiently day after day without getting emotionally drained.
When you work in an emergency room, on some days you could find yourself on your feet continuously, without a moment’s break during your entire shift. When you have several patients fighting for their lives, taking a break is the last thing on your mind and this means you have to have the physical stamina and endurance to be able to handle such a rigorous schedule without falling ill yourself. You may also need to run around the hospital and lift heavy objects if allother staff have already got their hands full and you cannot afford to wait for help to arrive. While being fit is a necessity in all nursing specialties, in emergency nurses it is all the more important to be in peak physical condition to be able to handle all of the responsibilities that come with the job.
This is not a job for somebody who likes to work alone. When working in this specialty, you are exposed to stress in a way that’s different from nurses who provide care in other specialties. The emergent nature of the work and exposure to graphic trauma, whether it is in the form of suicide attempts, abuse or severe injuries, creates levels of stress that are not so common in other branches of nursing. Getting and providing emotional support to and from other ER staff members is a crucial aspect of working in this specialty.