Nursing student wanting to work in ER

  1. 0
    I am currently a nursing student and I am really interested in working in the ER after graduation. I was just curious if anyone knows the likelyhood of being hired in an ER right after graduation or if most ERs require a certain amount of experience in Med/surg or other non-specialty areas. Also does anyone know if the ER will hire nurse externs? Thanks for any advice

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 10 Comments...

  3. 0
    I guess it depends on the particular hospitals you're looking to apply to. I was hired directly out of nursing school.
  4. 0
    Those that do should have a really good internship program
  5. 0
    I am also somewhat interested in working in the ER after graduation. Personally, I do have some experience outside of nursing that gives me some insight into certain aspects of things, but it is not "nursing" experience. That being said, I would expect that ERs that hire new grads would have a good training program that would bring the new grad up to a sufficient level of performance to survive in the ER. I would not expect any new grad to do well immediately out of school, in the ER. That would include me and anyone else that has prior experience. A nurse that has had 1 – 2 years of experience in med/surg, would still have to learn a lot about working in the ER. The nurse would still have to do an assessment, but the speed and so have focus of the assessment would be very different from what the nurses used to doing on a typical med/surg floor. I know that I am not a nurse yet, but I do know that some things would be quite different. I hope that I get to find out for myself just how different working in the ER is from anything else that I used to doing.
  6. 0
    I would not suggest becoming a ER nurse as a new grad. Although you may find managers to hire you it would not be in your best interest. You really should get a year of practice on a med surg or Tele floor first because as an ER nurse you are expected to think fast and work fast. I worked in the ER as an aide and I did EKGs and phlebotomy and assisted with procedures for 5 yrs prior to graduating. Believe me that's all I wanted to do when I graduated, but my manager told me to get a yr of experience first. Guess what happened... The valedictorian of my class was hired in my ER and she couldnt handle it. She broke down having a panic attack and staff had to five her oxygen and treat her patients. I went back after the year was up but I found myself nervous where in the floor I was confident. That first year is critical! In school you only have 1-2 patients and you may only oversee part of their care because the instructor has so many students and we all know that is not the way it is in reality.
  7. 0
    You definitely have to learn fast, move fast, chart fast, and be assertive. I'm a new grad that was hired into the ED, and some days are overwhelming. But I work with a great supportive staff, I study on my days off, and I focus on the small steps I am taking to becoming a better nurse. I think the ED is good for people who are able to look at a mess and organize everything back into place! The floor has a pattern to it, but in the ED you have to make everything happen at once when things are falling apart all over. It's a huge learning curve but new grads can make it in the ED.
  8. 0
    Most of the faculty in my program call the need to do time in med/surg a myth if you are a dedicated and exceptionally fast learner. Look for ER preceptorship programs for new grads in addition to jobs.
  9. 1
    As an ER nurse it's not just knowledge you have to have about various areas of medicine, but having a personality to cope with thepace of the ER. I remember having a patient in with abdo pain, but subsequently developed a vascular issue in his arm. Long story short I had the ER doc, medical internist and vascular surgeon giving me orders. I was the middle man and it was chaos. I still had four other patients that I had stuff going on with. I did have some assistance from the charge nurse but was still overwhelming. ER is all about prioritizing. With experience you develop it. Communication tact with ER patients and families is important, because there are days you feel more like a diplomat putting out patients frustrations about having to wait then being a nurse. Keeping your cool with "needy" "whiney" people after dealing with an emotionally tragic situation is difficult. In the end, the difference between an ER nurse and all other nurses is the innate trait to thrive and enjoy constant change and unpredictability on a daily basis.
    FlightJunkie likes this.
  10. 0
    I encouraged GNs to go for their dreams. I believe that working ER or ICU is as much a personality fit as one of capability, knowledge, and desire. I have precepted GNs as well as floor and ICU RNs, and I can say without hesitation that there is no magical way to determine who will do well and who will not. Some people are going to do well and some won't. This is where personality comes into the equation. If a 15 year veteran of an ICU can't handle the ER does that make them a bad nurse? NO. I know a lot of great ER nurses that would blow chunks as a floor or ICU RN because it just isn't their personality (and I'm not even going to get into burn units, L&D, NICU, etc).

    That being said, I disagree with the old mindset that you have to have a certain number of years as a medsurg nurse before you can do anything. For some people, I would agree, but not all. I was a ER tech going through nursing school, and then stayed there when I graduated (level 1 trauma/burn, STEMI, CVA center that sees 90,000+ per year). If you really want it, you can achieve it. You must listen to your preceptors though, they will guide you through orientation and give you feedback. If, in the end, they do not feel that you are ready, then be willing to look at other options. If you are determined enough, have a strong desire, and apply yourself, you can be very successful! I am who I am today because I had a strong will and desire to be the best nurse I could be. I always looked for the sickest patients. The advice I give to everyone I precept is, "don't be afraid to take any pt, but know when you are over your head and ask for help." This is the only way to learn. What frustrates me is hearing someone say, "I don't want to take that pt, they are too sick, I won't know what to do." That's a guaranteed ticket to dragging that nurse into that room so they can get exposure, get over their fear, and begin to learn how to take care of that pt.

    Aaron RN BSN CEN CCRN
    ER/CVICU/Flight RN
  11. 0
    Get on the hospital websites and apply for intern/extern jobs.
    Call the hospital's nurse recruiter.
    It cant hurt!!
    Good Luck!!!


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top