? about becoming an ER nurse - page 2

I was wondering if most places would hire graduate students as ER nurses. If not, what kind of background and training do they look for the nurses that they do hire? Thank you for any help... Read More

  1. by   NewRNinNC
    I am a new grad and I just started 2 weeks ago in the ER. I think it depends on the hospital and the demand for nurses.
  2. by   Jen2
    I was a phlebotomist at a small community hospital and was on the code team there while I was in nursing school. I spent most of my time in the ER drawing blood for traumas and sticking who ever the nurses couldn't get. The plus side to this was that I also went to the ICU's, nursery, and floor. I got exposed to all aspects of nursing during my time there. It made me fall in love with ER.

    I did a 10 week summer externship in a large teaching hospital in my area. I spent 5 weeks in med/surge and 5 weeks in a level 1 trauma center. During my 5 weeks in med/surge I found myself bored a lot of times. My preceptor there actually gave me her whole team of patients and had me do everything for them. She found that I was doing so well that she had difficulty challengeing me and started taking me back into the step down area and assessing those patients and reading the monitors after I was done with her team.

    I then started my 5 weeks in the level 1 ER and felt right at home. I was challenged every day, and seemed to excel there. I became the go to person for difficult IV starts because of all of my phlebotomy experience. Most of the nurses hated sticking babies, but I already had so much experience dong it that they looked for me when ever a little one needed an IV. The nurse manager and my preseptor was so pleased with me that they invited me to apply for an open position when I graduated. I thought I should do a year of med/surge first but the ER manager explained to me that I was already proficient in IV's with kiddos, drawing ABG's and most drips, so why go to the floor for a year and risk loosing some of the skills that I have already acquired?

    I graduated in May and started my job there as a GN in June. I passed my boards and have ACLS, PALS, TNCC, and will be taking ENPC soon. I feel that I am doing really well and just got off of my 90 day orientation. However, I also read everything I can get my hands on and ask tons of questions. Every time i get a difficult patient with a strange drug or disease I come home look it up and read about it. I think anyone can do well if you are willing to really work harder than you have ever worked in your life. I feel that my schooling is just beginning. It takes a lot of self education to work in the ER as a new grad.

    A girl from a med/surge floor with one year of experience actually started the same time I did and isn't doing so well. She is having the most difficult time doing focus assessment and charting. I felt really bad for her one day when she was running a trauma and her preceptor yelled at her because she was auscultating bowel sounds in an open tib/fib fx. After all she was just assessing her patient. She also has a hard time with all the "standing and protocall" orders.

    There is always a huge debate on who makes the best ER nurse and that new grads shouldn't even consider it until they do at lest a year on the floor, but my manager feels that it is easier to teach a new grad how to act and think like an ER nurse than it is someone with even 10 years of med/surge experience and I somewhat believe that. I think no matter what experience you have prior to going into the ER it is still going to be different and you are going to have to learn how to think and do things a whole new way anyway. Best of luck to you in what ever you decide to do.
  3. by   MassED
    Quote from Jen2
    I was a phlebotomist at a small community hospital and was on the code team there while I was in nursing school. I spent most of my time in the ER drawing blood for traumas and sticking who ever the nurses couldn't get. The plus side to this was that I also went to the ICU's, nursery, and floor. I got exposed to all aspects of nursing during my time there. It made me fall in love with ER.

    I did a 10 week summer externship in a large teaching hospital in my area. I spent 5 weeks in med/surge and 5 weeks in a level 1 trauma center. During my 5 weeks in med/surge I found myself bored a lot of times. My preceptor there actually gave me her whole team of patients and had me do everything for them. She found that I was doing so well that she had difficulty challengeing me and started taking me back into the step down area and assessing those patients and reading the monitors after I was done with her team.

    I then started my 5 weeks in the level 1 ER and felt right at home. I was challenged every day, and seemed to excel there. I became the go to person for difficult IV starts because of all of my phlebotomy experience. Most of the nurses hated sticking babies, but I already had so much experience dong it that they looked for me when ever a little one needed an IV. The nurse manager and my preseptor was so pleased with me that they invited me to apply for an open position when I graduated. I thought I should do a year of med/surge first but the ER manager explained to me that I was already proficient in IV's with kiddos, drawing ABG's and most drips, so why go to the floor for a year and risk loosing some of the skills that I have already acquired?

    I graduated in May and started my job there as a GN in June. I passed my boards and have ACLS, PALS, TNCC, and will be taking ENPC soon. I feel that I am doing really well and just got off of my 90 day orientation. However, I also read everything I can get my hands on and ask tons of questions. Every time i get a difficult patient with a strange drug or disease I come home look it up and read about it. I think anyone can do well if you are willing to really work harder than you have ever worked in your life. I feel that my schooling is just beginning. It takes a lot of self education to work in the ER as a new grad.

    A girl from a med/surge floor with one year of experience actually started the same time I did and isn't doing so well. She is having the most difficult time doing focus assessment and charting. I felt really bad for her one day when she was running a trauma and her preceptor yelled at her because she was auscultating bowel sounds in an open tib/fib fx. After all she was just assessing her patient. She also has a hard time with all the "standing and protocall" orders.

    There is always a huge debate on who makes the best ER nurse and that new grads shouldn't even consider it until they do at lest a year on the floor, but my manager feels that it is easier to teach a new grad how to act and think like an ER nurse than it is someone with even 10 years of med/surge experience and I somewhat believe that. I think no matter what experience you have prior to going into the ER it is still going to be different and you are going to have to learn how to think and do things a whole new way anyway. Best of luck to you in what ever you decide to do.
    I agree about experience on med/surg not having anything to do with how well you'll do in the ED. I had a year of Tele/ortho/post-op/med-surg, all that in one, in a year, then went to the ED. I now realize how easy floor nursing was, I'll tell you that! I think you either have the instinct and can go with it, or you don't. You have to be a quick thinker, a very good critical thinker, or it won't work out. Every day that I work, I find that I become a better nurse because of previous days where I tried a certain approach that didn't work so well, for me. The thing is, you have to be such a team player, and be able to really stand up for yourself when you're among those that will use you (because you're good and solid at what you do) and dump on you, or just to defend yourself when you're in a hostile environment. I found that I was shocked at how much you have to become a VERY open person about what you will and will not take/allow as an RN in the ED. People will try to get away with everything, that's coworkers, pts and families (and visitors, can't forget about them!), and I find that I am always having to state the obvious, or try to educate someone on courtesy, manners, or morals. It's a weird, twisted world most days. I could go on and on, but I'll spare the others. Same story, different ED, they're all the same.

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