In a big hospital, nurses tend to be pigeonholed -- you're an OR nurse or a burn nurse or a XYZ nurse, from the ones I know who've worked at the huge flagship hospitals. In a small community hospital, you don't have all the bells and whistles, but you can end up floating or being PRN staff to other departments. We've got some that split between the cath lab and the ICU, between ICU and ER, between OR and med-surg, between tele and ICU. Some will PRN to the health department. You get to know (and be known) by freakin' everybody.
If you work in a rural ER, the really horrible stuff tends to get flown straight from the scene, but we've had people in our ER with dueling chest tubes after they were ran over by their travel trailer (died before flight crew could get there), cracking the chest for open cardiac massage (lived to fly out, don't know about after that), working get a living baby out of a dead mom who threw a massive PE. In our ICU, we've had people with everything from "political-itis" (not really sick, just very politically connected) to assault and MVA victims with open abdomens and slices you could put a hand inside, to necrotizing strep, huge MIs and evolving CVAs.
While I'm not in a level 1 trauma center by any means, we can do a lot with a little; we're used to being understaffed, under supplied, and underpaid. I think it tends to make me flexible. Or crazy. Possibly both.