Emergency Nursing - pros and cons?

  1. I'm a new nursing grad and never considered emergency nursing until I volunteered for NYC marathon and I absolutely loved the experience. The fast pace, the chaos of patients just pouring in and needing assessment, triage, etc. I honestly felt "alive" in that atmosphere, so now I wonder if perhaps ED nursing is for me.

    I always wanted to go into critical care nursing, so now I want to consider ED as well. I wonder if the wonderful ED nurses here can tell me the good and the bad things about their jobs. In addition, what career path can you lead in the ED? I definitely want to go for MSN and DNP later on. How transferable are ED skills?
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    About jlan79

    Joined: Nov '07; Posts: 121; Likes: 10


  3. by   EDRN10
    Use the search button. There is tons of great info on this site you just have to look. This is a reply I had given to someone who asked nearly the exact same question.

    ER nursing has many rewards along with many down falls here's a few that I have experinced in my time working in the ER.

    The Good:
    1. Challenging work environment requiring many different nursing skills from ICU patients to minor complaints, from birth to death we see it all.
    2. Instant satisfaction. Example would be someone is in severe pain from a broken bone. We give them pain meds and a splint and they are feeling much better. You may have the same patient for days or weeks in an inpatient setting with no change or improvement. Generally in the ER people are feeling at least somewhat better by the time they leave.
    3. Chances to actually save a life. You will help take care of patients that you know had you and your team not intervened in a timely manner that the patient could have died. While this is possible in any area of nursing I would say that it is more likely to occur in an ER or ICU setting.
    4. Fast paced work. There is rarely a dull moment and almost always work to be done.

    The Bad:
    1. Fast pace can become overwhelming at times and is not for people who have trouble prioritizing what needs to be done.
    2. Many people abuse the ER and bog down the system for minor complaints that could be handled at a family doctor or urgent care that do not need to be in the ER. This occurs for a variety of reasons from lack of education, lack of insurance, and many more but, my least favorite "I got a medical card so it don't matter where I go because I don't have to pay." This can become very frustrating at times. Many days these are primarily the people you will take care of.
    3. High stress more so than anywhere else in nursing I have encountered in my limited experiences. When you have a CVA in one room, a MI in the next and your getting an ambulance in another bed this can become very stressful. Must have good stress management skills or you will have trouble in the ER.

    There are many many more aspects to ER nursing but these are a few I can think of off of the top of m head. I'm sure some of the more experienced nurses can chime in with some more good and bad of working in the ER.
  4. by   Robublind
    I relatively new to the ER but I seen a few nurses transfer from other departments who did not like the ED
    If you like working from a schedule, one of those nursing students who had there whole day outline (teacher loved this) ie 0900 meds, 1000 baths, 1100 etc. ER is not for you.
    If you like having the same pt for 12 hrs and sometimes 2-3 days in a row. ER is not for you. Personally if a have a pt for more that 4hr, no matter how nice they are, Im ready to get rid of them.
    If making a kid cry, shots, is going to ruin your day....

    Bad parts of ER: Drunks,drug seekers, SI and stupid parents.
    Good parts: MD a yell away for getting orders, you see everything, and everyday is different
  5. by   Anna Flaxis
    For me, the best part of the ED is the detective work. We have nurse initiated protocols that allow us to start treatment based upon presenting signs and symptoms, prior to the MD exam. There are limits to what we can order, but many things, such as a peripheral IV, labs, fluids, and xrays of extremities, are all covered under standing orders. Using the protocols, the nurses can get the workup started before the doctor sees the patient.

    The worst is that you see the worst in people. The BS you put up with day in and day out can make one very jaded.
  6. by   simmaplease
    I signed up to volunteer at a marathon that's coming up in a few weeks. Any tips about what I can expect? I'm a nursing student and this will be my first time working in an ER-type environment
  7. by   hodgieRN
    Quote from simmaplease
    I signed up to volunteer at a marathon that's coming up in a few weeks. Any tips about what I can expect? I'm a nursing student and this will be my first time working in an ER-type environment
    It obviously depends on the environment, but the big ones are dehydration, cramping, and heat exhaustion. And you can include an sprains, strains, etc. There's a good number of people who are running the marathon for the first time and those people tend to get hurt the most. There's usually athletic trainers there and they have a huge amount of knowledge with those events. They can take a runner with heat exhaustion and make them shiver with ice in no time.