What is a day usually like in the ER?
I work 2nd shift, so when I come into work it is usually busy. There will be times when we are slow, and then all hell breaks loose:spin:! Things change in a heartbeat. When I come into work I get report and try to stock my supply carts. I also make sure there's an ambu bag and working suction in my major trauma rooms. I double-check any infusions that are running, assess my patients, look at their labs, take report from EMT/paramedics, and so on...
What all diagnoses's do you see?
Tonight I cared for a patient who broke their pelvis in an MVA, a 2-year old involved in an MVA, and patients with chest pain, generalized weakness, abdominal pain, and so on. Then, 1 hour before my shift was to end we had a PNB come in so I got in on that. I've also seen hepatic encephalopathy, GI bleed, asthma, abdominal pain, miscarriage, heart attack, chest pain, pneumonia, angioedema (just saw it last night), CHF exaccerbation, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, seizure disorder, alcohol intoxication, overdose, hypoglycemia...lots of interesting stuff.
How many patients do you see? (pt./nurse ratio)
3-4 patients per nurse. But, we have a flow nurse who picks up rooms if the primary nurse is busy (if I'm with an acute MI patient and they need to go up to the cath lab, I'm pretty much in that room the entire time and other nurses pick up my rooms- there's so much to do in such a short period of time for MI patients). If the patients are non-critical, usually 3-4 patients isn't a problem. But, when we start having to hold people down in the ED because there's no beds on the floor, or if we have ICU holds, things get a bit crazy.
How long was your orientation?
What qualities/skills do you feel are important?
Ability to be calm, interest in learning something new each day, excellent communication skills, assertive, someone who's not afraid to ask lots of questions, prioritization, excellent critical thinking skills, and someone who is a real team-player. Confidence is very important also.