What exactly do you do as an ER nurse? | allnurses

What exactly do you do as an ER nurse?

  1. 2 Sorry for the dumb question, but I really have no experience with ER whatsoever. I graduate nursing school (RN) in July and am somewhat interested in emergency care. We do off site days for clinical, but none in ER. We really aren't even taught that much about emergency issues (besides the big ones that are more likely to happen on a floor) during class.

    My grandmother who passed away in 1998 was an ER nurse for years. I never got to discuss this with her because I was 100% sure I wanted to be an actress when I was that age. :lol: So nursing wasn't even a consideration when I was young. Now at least I know it's the only thing I could ever do! Anyways, I'd love to follow in her footsteps, but not JUST to be following her - yanno what I mean? I think ER would be interesting.

    Problem is, I really don't know what goes on. When I pass through ER at work all I see are patients sitting in little rooms getting asked questions by people. I'm not even sure if these people are nurses or techs or what.

    So...I'd like to know what goes on in the ER. Is it just getting an admission report? Do you do many hands on things besides codes? I'm thinking that's a yes because our patients always come up with IVs and foleys. :P But I just am really interested to know what an ER nurse does.
  2. Visit  vegnurse21 profile page

    About vegnurse21

    Joined Jun '05; Posts: 99; Likes: 30.

    22 Comments so far...

  3. Visit  rjflyn profile page
    1
    My best answer to your question would be to see for yourself. Find out what night is typically the busiest in your particular facility and see if you can spend a shift observing. I personally would reccommend a night shift either 7p-7a or if your not up to that 3p-3a.
    I could spend a week telling you but I would probably miss something and you wouldnt believe most of it. You have to see it for yourself.

    Rj

    Quote from PinkAurora
    Sorry for the dumb question, but I really have no experience with ER whatsoever. I graduate nursing school (RN) in July and am somewhat interested in emergency care. We do off site days for clinical, but none in ER. We really aren't even taught that much about emergency issues (besides the big ones that are more likely to happen on a floor) during class.

    My grandmother who passed away in 1998 was an ER nurse for years. I never got to discuss this with her because I was 100% sure I wanted to be an actress when I was that age. :lol: So nursing wasn't even a consideration when I was young. Now at least I know it's the only thing I could ever do! Anyways, I'd love to follow in her footsteps, but not JUST to be following her - yanno what I mean? I think ER would be interesting.

    Problem is, I really don't know what goes on. When I pass through ER at work all I see are patients sitting in little rooms getting asked questions by people. I'm not even sure if these people are nurses or techs or what.

    So...I'd like to know what goes on in the ER. Is it just getting an admission report? Do you do many hands on things besides codes? I'm thinking that's a yes because our patients always come up with IVs and foleys. :P But I just am really interested to know what an ER nurse does.
    Beauty&Brains90 likes this.
  4. Visit  susi_q profile page
    10
    We do every part of the nursing process ... squared.

    we assess...as they come in the door, as they get to the room, as we continue to monitor, as we send 'em on (either to admit or discharge)

    we diagnose...we decide what to do for the patient (usually even before we get a doctor in the room), we order tests and treatments, we decide if that belly pain is really refered heart pain? AAA? appendix? ectopic pregnancy? food poisoning? "I just want a day off work!".

    We plan ...We decide when to yell for the doctor NOW, and when we can handle it until the doc is available, We juggle 4 or 5 patients ... planning how to give good care to each while preserving life and/or limb for the most critical,

    we implement ... give drugs, hang fluids, abx, cardiac drips...we run codes ... we do all the technical stuff (with our techs) like foleys, NGs, IVs, dressings & splints. We do LOTS of teaching (please treat your baby's fever at home, really, we'll believe you if its normal by the time you get here!) We comfort the grieving. We put doctors in their place (when needed). We stock rooms, transport patients, do the charting, monitor the results, inform the doctor, etc etc

    we evaluate ... so we can keep going & do it all over for the next patient thru the door.

    Keep reading on this thread...you will get a good sense of what we do. Its not glamourous, but Er nurses are a unique breed and I'm proud to count myself as one of them!
    Beauty&Brains90, JHU2016, canoehead, and 7 others like this.
  5. Visit  Altra profile page
    1
    Quote from rjflyn
    My best answer to your question would be to see for yourself. Find out what night is typically the busiest in your particular facility and see if you can spend a shift observing. I personally would reccommend a night shift either 7p-7a or if your not up to that 3p-3a.
    I could spend a week telling you but I would probably miss something and you wouldnt believe most of it. You have to see it for yourself.

    Rj
    Word.
    MassED likes this.
  6. Visit  zaleah profile page
    0
    I agree with the above, but remember we also wash stretchers, push patients on stretchers, empty linen bags, and empty garbage bags. Emergency nursing means moving people through, no matter what there is always someone's grandma, aunt, mother or kid in the waiting room so you do what needs to be done. We do not have an hour between patients, the stretchers do not get cold. The door's do not close because we are full, they just keep coming and you triage......the sick sit and wait and the dying get seen......
  7. Visit  neneRN profile page
    1
    A better question would be, what don't ER nurses do? LOL...but it's true, ER nurses care for every illness/injury possible, from birth to death.
    MassED likes this.
  8. Visit  jayne109 profile page
    0
    :yeahthat:
    Quote from susi_q
    We do every part of the nursing process ... squared.

    we assess...as they come in the door, as they get to the room, as we continue to monitor, as we send 'em on (either to admit or discharge)

    we diagnose...we decide what to do for the patient (usually even before we get a doctor in the room), we order tests and treatments, we decide if that belly pain is really refered heart pain? AAA? appendix? ectopic pregnancy? food poisoning? "I just want a day off work!".

    We plan ...We decide when to yell for the doctor NOW, and when we can handle it until the doc is available, We juggle 4 or 5 patients ... planning how to give good care to each while preserving life and/or limb for the most critical,

    we implement ... give drugs, hang fluids, abx, cardiac drips...we run codes ... we do all the technical stuff (with our techs) like foleys, NGs, IVs, dressings & splints. We do LOTS of teaching (please treat your baby's fever at home, really, we'll believe you if its normal by the time you get here!) We comfort the grieving. We put doctors in their place (when needed). We stock rooms, transport patients, do the charting, monitor the results, inform the doctor, etc etc

    we evaluate ... so we can keep going & do it all over for the next patient thru the door.

    Keep reading on this thread...you will get a good sense of what we do. Its not glamourous, but Er nurses are a unique breed and I'm proud to count myself as one of them!
    :yeahthat: :yeahthat:
  9. Visit  scrmblr profile page
    0
    We also deal with psych pt's. I see drug addicts, alcoholics in dt's and suicidal pt's almost every day.

    ER nursing seems to require alot of "family nursing" too. You have to be able to explain dobutamine to "great grandma's" family, as well as explain why "Jr" isn't getting abx for his virus.

    Best place ever
  10. Visit  teeituptom profile page
    0
    We work harder than any other form of nursing
  11. Visit  Roy Fokker profile page
    0
    Working ER is fun I liked it a lot at my lst clinicals and starting this week will be doing 3 12s at a local hospital ER. I'd love to get into Peds ER though.

    I think the basic function of ER: triage, stabilise and then reroute-patient to appropriate area. You don't hold 'em for too long in there. The objective is to quickly decipher what the patient is suffering from, stabilise and start treatment and once stabilised, to send patient off - ICU, OR, Med-Surg you name it...

    Quote from teeituptom
    We work harder than any other form of nursing
    Yep. Them slobs in other branches just sit on their tushies and chat about nails and hair spray all day long....
  12. Visit  Roy Fokker profile page
    0
    Quote from susi_q
    we assess...as they come in the door, as they get to the room, as we continue to monitor, as we send 'em on (either to admit or discharge)

    we diagnose...we decide what to do for the patient (usually even before we get a doctor in the room), we order tests and treatments, we decide if that belly pain is really refered heart pain? AAA? appendix? ectopic pregnancy? food poisoning? "I just want a day off work!".

    We plan ...We decide when to yell for the doctor NOW, and when we can handle it until the doc is available, We juggle 4 or 5 patients ... planning how to give good care to each while preserving life and/or limb for the most critical,

    we implement ... give drugs, hang fluids, abx, cardiac drips...we run codes ... we do all the technical stuff (with our techs) like foleys, NGs, IVs, dressings & splints. We do LOTS of teaching (please treat your baby's fever at home, really, we'll believe you if its normal by the time you get here!) We comfort the grieving. We put doctors in their place (when needed). We stock rooms, transport patients, do the charting, monitor the results, inform the doctor, etc etc

    we evaluate ... so we can keep going & do it all over for the next patient thru the door.

    Keep reading on this thread...you will get a good sense of what we do. Its not glamourous, but Er nurses are a unique breed and I'm proud to count myself as one of them!
    :yeahthat: Good post
  13. Visit  RunnerRN profile page
    0
    Best advice would be to contact the ED of a local hospital (level I is best for seeing everything) and shadow for a day. I get students with me all the time and do my best to show them how a typical day goes (HA there is no "typical" day in the ED!) We truly do everything. On the days that I get down by the load, I remind myself that I can do the job of nearly everyone in the hospital.....I am a med-surg nurse, I am a trauma nurse, I am a burn nurse, an oncology nurse, often a janitor, counselor, sometimes a doctor, sometimes mom.....AND I can do it all at once!!!
    ED is a great place to learn a lot and to push yourself. No matter what, make sure you have a good orientation if you do decide to enter the ED right out of school.
  14. Visit  RN28MD profile page
    0
    I had a very similar question. Great post guys. I have been an inactive nurse for 4yrs now. I don't really have much nursing to back me up. I really would like to do ER as Med/Surg I hated. How is someone like me considered since I am not a new grad. I have just 1yr of nursing and that was yrs ago.

    Does anyone know of somone who went into ER after taking a RN refresher?


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