Career Development

What Does an ER Nurse Do?

Find out what an ER nurse does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an ER nurse.

A nurse is a healthcare professional who provides care to patients. They are responsible for administering treatment, monitoring patient health, and providing emotional support to those they treat.

Nurses may specialize in certain areas of nursing practice, such as emergency medicine or oncology. Regardless of their specialty, all nurses must be able to perform a wide range of tasks—from basic bedside procedures to complex medical interventions.

ER Nurse Job Duties

ER nurses have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing initial medical treatment to patients in emergency situations until physicians can see them
  • Communicating with physicians about patient progress, complications or other issues that may arise during treatment
  • Recording information about patients’ symptoms, conditions, responses to treatment, and other details in patient charts
  • Providing emotional support to patients and their families during difficult times
  • Following standard procedures for collecting biological samples from patients for testing
  • Administering medications according to a prescribed treatment plan, including injecting intravenous (IV) drugs
  • Coordinating care among other medical staff members such as physicians, surgeons, nurses, counselors, therapists, social workers, and pharmacists
  • Providing first aid and emergency care in situations where a patient’s life is threatened or has been lost

ER Nurse Salary & Outlook

The salary of a nurse can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of nursing they specialize in.

  • Median Annual Salary: $82,500 ($39.66/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of nurses is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

The large aging population is expected to drive demand for healthcare services. As people age, they typically require more medical care. In addition, because many nurses work in hospitals, demand for these workers will depend on how quickly the large baby-boom generation ages and needs treatment.

Related: In-Depth ER Nurse Salary Guide

ER Nurse Job Requirements

ER nurses typically need to have the following qualifications:

Education: All nurses need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to work in a hospital setting. The most common degree for a nurse is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This degree takes four years to complete and includes coursework in biology, chemistry, anatomy and physiology.

Some nurses choose to earn a master’s degree in nursing. This takes an additional two years and includes more advanced coursework and clinical experience.

Training & Experience: Most of a nurse’s training will take place during their education. Students will learn about the different aspects of the job, including patient care, patient safety, infection control and more. They will also learn about the different equipment and medications they will use.

After graduation, new nurses will receive on-the-job training. During this training, they will learn about the specific procedures and protocols for their new employer. They will also learn about the different software and equipment they will use.

Certifications & Licenses: After completing your education, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to get your license to practice as a registered nurse in the U.S.

Many nursing schools also offer additional certifications that can improve your job prospects and increase your knowledge of a specialty area.

ER Nurse Skills

ER nurses need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the act of exchanging information with others. As a nurse, you may need to communicate with patients, other medical professionals, family members and other members of a patient’s care team. Effective communication can help you to relay important information, answer questions and build trust with others.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As a nurse, you may be the first person a patient sees when they enter the hospital. Your ability to empathize with them and make them feel comfortable can help them feel safe and cared for.

Time management: Time management is another skill that can be useful for nurse assistants. They may need to manage their time to ensure they complete all of their duties in a timely manner. This can include making sure they have enough time to complete their tasks before their shift ends.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to make quick decisions based on the information you have. As a nurse, you may need to make important decisions about a patient’s treatment plan or diagnosis. It’s important to gather as much information as you can before making a decision.

Medical knowledge: Medical knowledge is the ability to understand medical procedures, diagnoses and treatments. This is an important skill for a nurse to have because it allows them to properly assess and treat patients. Medical knowledge can be improved through continuing education, training and experience.

ER Nurse Work Environment

ER nurses work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. They are responsible for providing care to patients who are experiencing life-threatening medical conditions. ER nurses must be able to think quickly and make decisions under pressure. They must be able to handle multiple tasks at one time and be able to work well under stress. ER nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, which may include nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work overtime.

ER Nurse Trends

Here are three trends influencing how ER nurses work. ER nurses will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Telemedicine

The growth of telemedicine is a trend that is quickly changing the healthcare industry. As more and more people use this service, it is becoming clear that it has many benefits over traditional in-person visits.

ER nurses can benefit from this trend by becoming experts in telemedicine services. This will allow them to provide better care for patients who are unable to come into the hospital. It will also allow them to work with doctors who are located in different parts of the country or world.

Patient Satisfaction Will Be More Important Than Ever

As patient satisfaction becomes more important than ever, ER nurses will need to focus on providing excellent care.

This means that ER nurses will need to be able to manage difficult situations effectively and communicate well with patients and their families. They will also need to be familiar with current best practices in emergency care so that they can provide the most up-to-date care possible.

A Greater Focus on Patient Safety

As hospitals focus on patient safety, there will be an increased demand for ER nurses who have experience working in high-risk environments.

Nurses who are able to work in high-risk settings will be in high demand as hospitals look for ways to improve patient outcomes. In order to be successful in this field, nurses will need to be comfortable working under pressure and be able to think quickly in emergencies.

How to Become an ER Nurse

A career as a nurse is full of opportunities for growth. As you progress in your nursing career, you may choose to specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as oncology or pediatrics. You may also want to take on additional leadership roles, such as becoming a charge nurse or nurse manager.

Related: How to Write an ER Nurse Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance your career as an ER nurse. One way is to specialize in a certain area, such as pediatrics, trauma, or cardiology. Specialized ER nurses generally make more money than those who don’t specialize. Another way to advance your career is to get a higher degree, such as a master’s or a doctorate. With a higher degree, you can become a nurse practitioner or a nurse educator. You can also advance your career by becoming certified in a specialty, such as emergency nursing or critical care nursing.

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