Emergency room (ER) nurses are registered nurses who specialize in taking care of patients admitted to the emergency care facilities. They assess, diagnose, and care for these patients in life-threatening situations.
ER nurse Primary Duties
In the emergency room, nurses evaluate and treat patients that are at high risks because of their illnesses or injuries. They have to function seamlessly along with the other emergency room staff. They also need to act fast as they move from one patient to the next. Moments are fleeting and every second is precious in the ER. It is common to see emergency nurses bent on reviving a heart attack victim, only to see them a few minutes later crouching over a poisoned victim.
Read more about How to become an ER nurse.
But the most basic duties of an ER nurse include pinpointing the patient’s medical condition quickly, stabilizing the victims of trauma, educating the patients on preventing further injuries, and managing their pain, among others. They also need to provide initial care to the patients rushed to the ER. This meant that they have to assess the patients, listen to the paramedics enumerating the patient vital signs and symptoms, provide for the immediate medical needs of the patient, and direct them to where the patient will be taken care of by the ER medical team.
One of the critical duties that ER nurses have to fulfill is triage, referring to the process of determining which medical conditions to handle first, based on the risks they pose to the patients. There are even ER nurses specializing in this duty, called triage nurses, who evaluate the patient’s vital signs and feedback. They just have to back their decision up later by subjecting the patient to X-rays and lab tests.
While doctors provide treatment, ER nurses need to prep the doctors and pass them the necessary tools. They also monitor the patient’s vitals and notify the doctor whenever something goes wrong.
ER nurse Necessary Skills
Aside from the nursing training, an ER nurse also needs to acquire certain skills that will come in handy during emergency situations. These include pediatric advanced life support assessment, advanced cardiac life support, respiratory evaluation, IV skills, and interpreting EKC and ECG results.
ER nurse Important Personal Qualities
An ER nurse won’t last long in the emergency care unit if they also don’t have the right attitude towards their job. It can get pretty hectic out there that it won’t be surprising if the nurse just gives up. Those who lasted long enough know that they owe it partly to their ability to multitask; make decisions in a snap; observe, assess, and prioritize cases; and stamina. ER nurses also need excellent customer service skills, communication skills, and coping skills when it comes to handling stressful emergency situations.