Alternative to ER

Nurses General Nursing


So I have a quick question that you all might be able to help me with.

I just finished my LPN program and I'm waiting to take the NCLEX, hopefully soon. During my program, I got to choose a preceptor for Transition to Practice clinicals (last 120 hours), so I chose an RN that I had worked with before in the emergency department.

I really fell in love with working in the ED. The scope of practice for LPN's is pretty wide here in this state so I pretty much got to do everything while I was precepting with them. I enjoyed the excitement and the camaraderie that was there. Albeit, the hospital wasn't in a huge city so it wasn't like we were seeing huge traumas come in all the time, but what we did get was a great learning experience.

Anyways, my question is in regards to where I should look for work when I get my license. I know that around this area they don't hire LPN's for the ED, and I'm okay with that. I've already begun the steps to bridge to RN so I realize the ED might have to wait till then. In the meantime, what do you all think about working in an urgent care facility?

I did get the chance to spend a few independent clinicals at two such facilities and I enjoyed them, but it's been a while ago. I know one of the places told me to come back and apply after I got my license so it is a viable option. Do you think that it's the closest thing to working in the ED that I can enjoy at the moment?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and past experiences. Hope everyone is having a good week so far and thanks in advance for the replies.

Specializes in Ambulatory Case Management, Clinic, Psychiatry.

I think UC is the most similar to the ED in terms of structure/flow; however, you are not going to see (most of the time) very sick patients or cardiac issues. That might be best done on a med surge/ tele floor (not sure if LPNs are hired into those where you are).

Might not hurt to ask the manager @ the ED what she recommends, and what they would prefer to see if you were to reapply once you have your RN in a couple years.

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

If LPNs are hired in typical med/surg units in your area, go there. If not, try to get into "real" acute rehab, LTACH (long term acute care) or busier nursing home (your ER preceptor should be able to guide you at that). For ER, you will need experience as wide as possible and get used to working with sick people with lots of comorbidities. If you cannot get into acute care right away, then go where such patients move directly from there.

If you end up in rehab or nursing home, always be super-nice and ultra-useful if you transfer patient to ER. It can help a lot on the long run. Good luck to you!

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.


Try a Urgent Care center, that will give you some experience that will factor in when you look for ER positions.


I vote for med/surg if you can get in.

Specializes in Case manager, float pool, and more.

I did 5 years as a LPN on a med-surg floor. I second the vote for med-surg if that is available in your area.

Go to the manager in the ED where you worked and tell her/him that you loved it there, want to work there some day and ask what type of experience she/he thinks would be most beneficial for you to do while you are working on your RN so you can apply there in the future and be a strong candidate.

I appreciate all your comments and suggestions. I wouldn't have a problem working med/surg but the thing is that in my rural area the local hospital only employs LPN's in their urgent care facilities and doctor's offices. I could commute about 65 miles away to another hospital system that does use them, but I discoverd that they start their LPN's

We also don't have any long-term acute care facilities in my area, which would leave LTC. I'd really like to avoid long-term care if possible.

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