? about becoming an ER nurse

  1. 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
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   CB
    I work in a Level II trauma center that sees
    40,000 pts/year. In the past we did not hire
    GN's but have changed that policy due to all
    the recent cutbacks in nursing and difficulty
    in finding nurses to fill empty positions. Those that we do hire have come very highly recommended by the instructors in the school of nursing. Otherwise, we like to see some kind of pre-hosp/EMS experience. Critical care experience is also favorably looked upon. We have hired some GN's without any experience who have worked out quite well and others have not. Personality seems to be a factor that determines success as an ER nurse. Assertiveness is a must and the ability/desire to jump in and learn new things even though the situation may be scary is an absolute must.
  4. by   KR
    CB,
    Thank you for your wonderful insight. It sounds like my pre-hosptial experience may help me then. I have been running EMS calls since I was 14, and became an EMT at 16. I am now 18, so have been involved in EMS for about 4 years. So maybe that will be in my favor. Thanks again.
  5. by   Dnnakelly
    We hire GN'S with some experience in med/surg,ACLS,PALS,Try getting on in med/surg for 6mos. then try the ER.
  6. by   RN92
    Personality and assertiveness are definitely important. I tell new nurses that , except for rural hospitals, you have to be willing to move fast and work hard the entire shift. ER is not the place for someone who tires easily. But on the other hand, its a good place to learn fast. It would depend on the preceptor program they have and how much orientation they are willing to give you. Some new nurses would do fine (its a challenge) and some nurses would do better starting out in a med/surg floor .
  7. by   Fly4Life12
    I work in a Level I trauma center that does hire graduate nurses. In my experience I've worked there for 3 years as an EMT/tech position when I graduate from nursing school like many of the nurses now did. They also put you through ACLS, PALS, TNCC, etc. I've seen a few GN really struggle and I've seen a few fly like experts, so it just depends on the person. I hope I fly!
  8. by   traumaRUs
    I too work level one traum center and we hire new grads...they get 12-16 weeks of orientation. Good luck.
  9. by   RN Rotten Nurse
    Quote from ERslave
    Personality and assertiveness are definitely important. I tell new nurses that , except for rural hospitals, you have to be willing to move fast and work hard the entire shift. ER is not the place for someone who tires easily. But on the other hand, its a good place to learn fast. It would depend on the preceptor program they have and how much orientation they are willing to give you. Some new nurses would do fine (its a challenge) and some nurses would do better starting out in a med/surg floor .
    I disagree with the 'except for rural hospitals' statement. I've worked in a rural hospital for 10 years and recently in a large level 1/ 60,000 per year hospital. In the large hospital, I've received several compliments on how independently I work and how easily I've adapted. I think that is due to working in a rural hospital where you don't have a boat load of nurses around to help you when you get something serious in ER or get an overflow of patients. In a rural hospital there is usually just one nurse and one physician to staff the ER. So, you are misinformed if you believe rural nurses don't have to 'work hard and move fast'.
  10. by   NYCRN16
    I started in the ER at a busy level II trauma center (last year we saw 90,000 patients!) as a new grad after graduating in May 2003 along with another nurse that works with me. I was an LPN before graduating with my RN (I worked in a nursing home) as well as completing an internship in a level I trauma center during my last semester in nursing school. The other nurse that started with me had no experience except for her summer externship she did the year before. We were given 3 months of orientation, one month consisted of the critical care class and general orientation, and then the rest was in the ER with a preceptor. Both of us are doing well, and we are carrying our own weight there. Over the past 2 months, the nurse manager has started putting us in the critical care area, pediatrics, and now we are venturing into triage. I can tell that it is not for everyone, but if you are not lazy and willing to learn, you will do fine!!!
  11. by   jhushon
    Quote from RN Rotten Nurse
    I disagree with the 'except for rural hospitals' statement. I've worked in a rural hospital for 10 years and recently in a large level 1/ 60,000 per year hospital. In the large hospital, I've received several compliments on how independently I work and how easily I've adapted. I think that is due to working in a rural hospital where you don't have a boat load of nurses around to help you when you get something serious in ER or get an overflow of patients. In a rural hospital there is usually just one nurse and one physician to staff the ER. So, you are misinformed if you believe rural nurses don't have to 'work hard and move fast'.
    Absolutlely!! I have worked in every setting, rural ER to level 1. I have found it is much more challenging in the rural setting. Sure, you may have more down time than in a big metro hospital, but when the @@@t rolls in, you better know how to deal with it. Often times, when I've been in the rural setting, my backup is the nursing sup. Unfortunely, their background is often not ER. (quite frankly, an OB nurse is not much help in an MCI)
    I have often heard the statement from other nurses, "Well, she worked at (fill in the blank for your fav level 1) so she must be good." At this point, I feel the need to explain the nurses typical role in a trauma in a facility where there is always someone who (truly) knows more, can get that IV, have someone to take care of the family(s) etc. In a rural facility, often the ER nurse is it. Sorry if I'm ranting a bit, but the people who think rural nurses don't have to "work hard and fast" have clearly never worked in those situations.
    Sorry, just my two cents.
  12. by   MassED
    Quote from RN92
    Personality and assertiveness are definitely important. I tell new nurses that , except for rural hospitals, you have to be willing to move fast and work hard the entire shift. ER is not the place for someone who tires easily. But on the other hand, its a good place to learn fast. It would depend on the preceptor program they have and how much orientation they are willing to give you. Some new nurses would do fine (its a challenge) and some nurses would do better starting out in a med/surg floor .
    "Rural hospitals" have every bit of the drama, hard work, undesirable pts, and insanely difficult work, as does any other hospital not so rural. I run my tail off and give 110% as do my coworkers. No ED is the same, but they're ALL busy and see their fair share of traumas, drunks, psychs, bogus crap and pelvics (uggghhhh). Just in varying degrees. It's a thankless job, most days.
  13. by   nursejennie76
    I started in ER as a GN, but had EMS experience and had been an LPN for 5 years prior to getting my RN. I have noticed that even the nurses that have worked Med Surg before ER have more of a struggle then I did because of there lack of EMS experience. The ER is a whole other world compared to Med Surg. I say go for it!!!
  14. by   nursemeow
    Quote from KR
    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

    yes, they will hire u because most hospitals are short staffed...but trust me... if they were staffed they would not. Take my advice...go for what you are interested in, but beware..in an er you better know your stuff!!! GOOD LUCK!

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