I am an ER nurse as well as SANE, so I will try to answer some of your questions for you.
--What qualities do I need to be an ER nurse?
You need to be assertive. You need to be able to think fast on your feet, and anticipate for the doctor will do. This is where it differs from the floor. You will not have a diganosis on your patient, you need to know your protocols like the back of your hand, and you need to be take initative. By the time the doctor gets in to see your pt, you should already have your pt worked up. Try to stay one step ahead. Also, you need to keep a level head in a REAL emergency (trauma, code, STEMI) and have a sense of urgency. You can't get flustered during critical times.
--What are the certifications that I need to complete (aside from BLS/ACLS/PALS) to be more marketable in applying in the ER and the skills (and attitude) that I need to master to survive being in the ER?
You will need all those and TNCC if your hospital is a trauma center. Even if your hospital is not trauma, it's still good to have TNCC. Also go for CEN about a year or so after being in the ER.
--Aside from saving lives (which is the most important part), does the level of stress EQUALS the pay?
In all honesty, I think I handle the stress very well. The be honest, I work well under pressure and I love the choas, the trauma and all the drama that comes with working in the ER. I work weekend nights and look forward to going to work every weekend. I know I'm going to be well entertained and it's worth the pay for me.
--Are the doctors nicer in the ER?
I work in a Level I trauma teaching hospital and I deal with residents and attendings. We work together as a team. The residents sometimes look to the nurses for advice. They will come to trust you, as well as the attendings.
--How do u deal with (multiple) nasty family members in a professional way on top of being busy with other patients?
--Is it worth it if i leave floor nursing and be an ER nurse?
Yes! I don't think I could go back to floor nursing, even if I wanted to. I sometimes work Stepdown and I count the minutes to the end of the shift.
YES, i need your help. Doesnt matter if you're a new grad, experienced or retired
Your advices, opinions and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!