Emergency Room Nurses (ER Nurses)
Nurses are an integral component of the medical setup of any healthcare service. There are plenty of roles played by a nurse in and out of a hospital environment. Therefore, there are various types of nurses that specialize in specific health niches.
Emergency room nurses or ER nurses are trained professionals that have a tough job to perform.
What Is An ER Nurse?
Trauma nurses or Critical care nurses are the titles given to highly trained nurses specializing in dealing with patients coming to the emergency rooms. The majority of the patients visiting the emergency room require immediate, active, and efficient treatment as it can be a life and death situation.
These skilled healthcare providers have to work under excessive pressure and know precisely the value of time. Unfortunately, due to the undue stress and workload, ER nurses are most prone to burnout. Burnout is a state of exhaustion (mental, emotional, and physical) experienced by individuals involved in high-stress jobs.
Studies show that the rate of burnout is pretty high in emergency room nurses. Therefore, it is essential to analyze your emotional and physical skills before entering the field. It is also suggested to plan out burnout reduction strategies.
A 2021 study reveals that nurses working in emergency units frequently suffer from high to severe levels of secondary traumatic stress. A significant portion of emergency nurses fall prey to this traumatic stress and, therefore, impact their health and the quality of care they provide.
What Do ER Nurses Do?
Let’s look at the activities that make an emergency nurse so disposed to stress and exhaustion. The primary responsibilities of an emergency nurse are:
Triage is the act of segregating patients based on medical needs. For example, in a disaster, the patient with a fatal blow gets prioritized over the one with minor bruises to ensure treatment for all. This is a demanding job to do because analyzing the health condition of patients is not easy.
However, there is a moderate agreement between the triages of physicians and nurses, a study suggests. Therefore, a planning program based on training correct triage for emergency nurses can be helpful.
The first step of managing any emergency case is to take the vitals of the patient. Emergency nurses. This includes measuring the following immediately:
- Blood Pressure
- Body temperature
- Respiratory rate
- Blood oxygen saturation levels (SpO2)
As per a study published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, nurses should also look for critical signs of cognitive health and delirium in patients to assess mental health conditions.
In addition to monitoring the vital signs, emergency nurses also respond to the changes in them. For example, rapid changes in blood pressure and sugar levels call for active administration of drugs for management.
The most basic of all medical activities is administering the right amount of drugs to the patient at the right time. Therefore, emergency nurses are entitled to administer medications orally and/or intravenously to the patients admitted to the hospitals.
The medicines administered can be of any nature, including:
- Muscle relaxants
Collecting Samples And Performing Tests
Collecting different types of samples, including blood, urine, and stool samples from patients, is also a part of the job description of an emergency nurse. These procedures are repeated at different intervals.
Electrocardiograms are a must to keep track of the heart health of the patients. Emergency nurses are also skilled in efficiently and quickly performing the EKG tests. In addition, reports show that emergency nurses are more trained and qualified in interpreting ECGs than pre-hospital emergency medical personnel.
As per a 2021 study, the electrocardiogram-interpretation capability of emergency nurses is fair and calls for better training to help them recognize fatal heart blocks, etc.
Documenting And Recording Treatments
Emergency nurses also play a part in documenting and recording the treatments. It includes recording care plans for patients. In addition, data, however, these healthcare providers also record the emergency of the patients undergoing treatments.
Record of medications and vitals is kept accurately to assess progress or decline in the patient’s condition.
Trauma nurses can perform minor surgical procedures and assist in surgeries as well. Carrying out needle biopsies, bandaging wounds, and giving dressings are the different activities performed by emergency nurses that reduce doctors’ burden.
The skilled workers also lend a hand in closing, debriding wounds, and draining abscesses. As per a study, emergency nurses have come a long way. From merely undressing patients in the 1960s (for surgery) to assisting in surgical procedures, emergency nurses have evolved positively.
Communicating With The Patients/Families
Communication is a key skill in the medical field. Critical care nurses must have a positive attitude in maintaining a healthy relationship with the patient and their families. As per a study, good communication on the part of the nurse is crucial for comforting palliative care patients.
Emergency nurses console the patient. They accurately and empathetically inform the family members of the condition of their loved one.
Where Can You Find An ER Nurse?
There is a wide variety of healthcare setups where an ER nurse can work, some of which are mentioned below:
Emergency nurses are seen performing duties in academic medical centers and teaching hospitals. Here these professionals apply experimental treatments, use advanced treatments, and teach other members of the faculty.
Though emergency care in rural hospitals is little negotiated, emergency nurses play their part in managing and referring to critical patients.
Critical Access Hospitals
CAHs, i.e., Critical Access Hospitals, are rural hospitals designed to improve access to healthcare while reducing the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals. Here the ER nurses help stabilize patients and treat serious injuries. Despite the fewer resources, nurses try their best to manage the condition to the maximum extent.
Nurses working in urban areas are skilled in responding to various illnesses and injuries. They also assist in violence prevention.
These professionals also offer services in community settings and stand-alone emergency departments. In addition, ER nurses can focus and develop skills to perform in specific sub-specialties such as stroke, trauma, cardiac and geriatrics departments.
Types Of Emergency Room Nurses
You can find types of ER nurses based on the specialized centers where they perform services, including:
- Trauma nurses
- Pediatric nurses
- Geriatric nurses
- ED Float nurses
- Burn Center nurses
Why Choose To Be An ER Nurse?
Choosing this profession can be gratifying. Despite the physical and emotional drawbacks entailed with this profession, it is an immensely satisfying job to do. The advantages of becoming an ER nurse include:
Emergency nurses (especially those working in the rural emergency units) can achieve a lot of spiritual peace and uplifting because of the lives they save (via resuscitation).
Any job related to the medical profession is seen with great respect and reverence by the general community. In addition, attending to severely ill, injured patients adds to your respect and credibility as an individual.
Chances For Growth
In the field of emergency room services, there are great opportunities for professional advancements.
Another reason to become an ER nurse is the above-average compensation you get for the physical and emotional services.
ER nurse salary?
A frequently asked question is, “What is er nurse salary?”
On average skilled ER, nurses earn more than 100,000$ per year ($100,721 to be precise). There has been an increasing demand for emergency room nurses in the recent past, making it an attractive career.
The national median salary of ER nurses is around $52,000.
ER Nurse Vs. ICU Nurse: The Differences
Though working in the same setting (hospital), there are subtle differences between ER and ICU nurses.
There are evident differences between the personalities of these two healthcare professionals. ER nurses are calm, quick-acting, and adrenaline seekers as they have to keep the patient alive by all means.
ICU nurses are meticulous and organized and offer a detailed level of care but generally are not as pacy as ER nurses.
Emergency room nurses work in stressful environments where seconds are precious. ER Nurses have to act fast and manage patients, while ICU nurses are more about operating machines and monitoring patients.
Critical care nurses are more organized, keeping every minor detail of the patient. On the other hand, ER nurses do not have much time to jot down every detail as managing the patient is a greater responsibility than record keeping.
How To Become An ER Nurse?
To become an ER nurse, candidates must attend an accredited and approved nursing program and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. After that, the individual must obtain a license as a registered nurse.
It takes two years to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing while it takes 4 for Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Candidates must hold a BSN to secure an ER nurse job in large hospitals.