Busiest Time For The ER


This is a completely random question coming from someone who's not even in nursing school yet so forgive me if this is a dumb question. I've just always wondered this.

What is the busiest time in the ER? I heard that Mondays and weekends are busy but what about holidays? Perhaps after a holiday? Halloween? Christmas? Are there times of the year or seasons that tend to be especially bad? For instance during the winter when it gets dark and dreary do you get a lot of psych patients....In the summer do you get a lot of kids with injuries? Certain times throughout the day etc etc Or is it all just completely up in the air and anything can happen sort of thing?




Specializes in ER. Has 8 years experience. 191 Posts

My general experience: holidays suck - OD's, family drops off grandma so they don't have to deal with her :crying2:

Sundays nights are always busy as people don't want to go to work Monday morning and will come in with some complaint just to get a work excuse. Winter is flu/cold season and can be busy depending on how bad they are that year. But all that said, it's unpredictable. This past weekend, Friday was bad, Saturday was great ( I actually had 4 hours where I could do homework!) and Sunday was ridiculously horrible.



2 Posts

I work in trauma in Atlantic City. After a brutal "trauma season" (May through Sept/early Oct), I very much look foward to the fall months. AC is a suitcase town, meaning ppl from all over visit and they dont always have their meds, and they dont always look both ways, and most importantly they dont a;ways know what neighborhood they shouldn't be in.

I would have to say the months in which ppl engage in risky behavior the most (motorcycles, ladders, ATV's) are the busiest months...May-Sept.



38 Posts

I think the great thing about working in the ER is that it is ALWAYS up in the air! However, SOMETIMES there will be a pattern...in our ER Sunday nights and Mondays are BRUTAL! The triage line is out the door pretty much all day. However, once in a while a Saturday will turn into a tota nightmare!

I agree with the OP about the holidays...it can be an especially sad time, especially around Christmas!

We see a lot of injuries year-round. Everybody is slipping and falling in the winter and have sports injuries in the summer!

I find we get most respiratory problems in the winter. Lately, we have had a lot of people with pneumonia, bronchitis, strep throat...you name it!

All shifts, all days of the week are unpredictable! One day you are smoking busy and don't get a break and you stay and work overtime. Other days you'll have a nice pace that is easy to control. I love the unknown and variety of the ER!



16 Posts

Do you get a lot of firecracker related injuries on halloween and new years or is it mainly just drunks on those holidays/events... or same old?



Specializes in ED. Has 7 years experience. 184 Posts

Medical Monday's are the busiest. If you can see your PCP instead of coming to the ER, you will save hours of your day. Last year, I think the busiest day I worked was the day after Christmas. However, as everyone else posted, it's always unpredictable in the ER...that is what we love!


DixieRedHead, ASN, RN

Specializes in ED/ICU/TELEMETRY/LTC. Has 20 years experience. 638 Posts

Day after Christmas. And look out this year, the work note seekers will be in about 1pm. The morning shopping is over and they will be in a hurry to get the note so they can perhaps be off a couple of more days for the after Christmas shopping.

Murse901, MSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Case Management, Informatics. Has 13 years experience. 731 Posts

Medical Monday at about 11am is our busiest. That's usually about the time people wake up and think, "Oh man, I called in to work. I'm gonna need a doctor's note. But it's too late to get into my doctor, and I have no idea what a minor med or an urgent care clinic is, so I'll just head over to the ER. I'll probably be in an out in less than 30 minutes, then I can go hit up the mall and do some shopping".

Day after Christmas. And look out this year, the work note seekers will be in about 1pm. The morning shopping is over and they will be in a hurry to get the note so they can perhaps be off a couple of more days for the after Christmas shopping.

EDIT: LOL. I didn't even read this until after I posted. Definitely this. Medical Monday is just this on a smaller scale, every single week.


nerdtonurse?, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, Telemetry. 3 Articles; 2,043 Posts

About 2 days after a major drug bust in your city or county -- happened in ours, and everybody ran out of their oblivion of choice within 48 hours, started going thru withdrawal, or worse, tried to switch drugs and went straight from "pleasantly stoned" to "unresponsive, respiratory rate 4." We had people having miscarriages, people getting intubated, people hallucinating, people having an MI's.

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience. 2,939 Posts

We're busiest on days that end in "y" during months that have a vowel. Seriously, while there are patterns as stated above, the ER can light up at anytime. And that's what is so cool about working there.

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU. 6,255 Posts

What the previous poster said ... ;)

There are some patterns. More trauma in the summer. Longer wait times for beds for admitted patients in the winter as the hospital fills up to capacity and therefore a more crowded ER. Sunday evening is always heavy with people who can't face going to school/work/life the next morning. A fresh batch of Fentanyl-laced heroin being sold on the street will bring 3-4 ODs within a couple of hours. Gang-related violence/trauma is cyclical. Amazingly, emergencies almost come to a standstill during major sports events and then reoccur when said game is over. And at a suburban ER I worked in, it seemed every dad with a garage suffered a power-tool related laceration on Christmas morning and on Father's Day. :rolleyes:

The Monday after a holiday weekend -- brutal.

I work in a peds ED and Mondays are not just busy, they are hellish. We see more trauma when it's warm but the winter is a busy season, mostly with respiratory stuff: asthma, RSV, flu, pneumonia etc. Weekends are actually pretty slow for us.