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CNA in Nsg school attracted to ER


I am attracted to the idea of working in the ER.

I am currently in my pre-reqs for nursing school and I am a CNA. I work in a nursing home and i LOVE it as a CNA but do not wan't to be an RN there. I actually find myself sad at the thought of one day leaving that job, but one must move on!

I live in a very small town and the only options for nurses are the nursing home, the hospital or the clinic.

Are there more challanges that a ER nurse has if they work in a small town ER vs a large hospital ER? If so what would these be?

Would it even be feasable for a new grad to get a job in the ER, even in a small town.

I fear that if I work at the nsg home or in the clinic in this small town that I will not maintain the skills needed to be successful elsewhere.

I would like to get on at the VA but the closest one is about an hour away and I know they are very hard to get on with, and almost impossible for a new grad to get on. I do not want my decisions for employment right out of shcool to ruin my plans of trying to get on with the VA in the future.

If you can't tell I am very uncertain and I guess I am just looking for sugestions, thoughts, or imput of any sort!

Thank you all!!!


Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, ICU. Has 3 years experience.

I worked Med/Surg and LTC as a CNA while going through nursing school. After nursing school I worked on the Med/Surg floor for a few months then got bumped to ER. My hospital was very small in a town of only 3200. ER is ER up to some aspect. All ER RNs need to be able to think of their feet. Be good at starting IVs. Know their drips/infusions...etc. The only downfall to a small ER that I noticed was that our small facility was not able to provide some of the needed care for certain patients and we would be a "hold over" until we could get a transfer to another ER. For instance when we had an AMI come in, we did not have a cath lab, so we would get an EKG and give the ASA, O2 and get them out the door to a facility that could get them in a cath lab. However, I just recently started in the ICU about 5 months ago. During my initial interview my current supervisor told me that the she wanted me to work there was because of my ER background - whether it was a small ER or not. Your experience with being able to think on your toes in a fast paced department is more important that the resources you are allowed. So I say go for it! Good luck


Specializes in ER, ICU, Medsurg.

I agree with the above poster. I work in a very small rural ER....6 bed to be exact. While we do get our fair share of resp. distress and MI, it is not a daily thing. We spend our days mostly doing flu and strep swabs and abdominal pain. If/when we get something major in, we stabilize and ship. I am a new grad (May 10) and started in the ER in July. I precepted there my last semester and when a position opened up the manager called me.

With that said, I was in a bridge program and got my LPN in 09. I worked at hospital on medsurg and am still there prn. I wouldn't trade my experience with them at all. The more experience I can get the better

I have a VA in my town and hear really good things about how great the overall package is to work there, in addition to what you said about it being tough to get into. If you think you have interest in the VA I think you should apply. Realistically, working for the government right now is about the most stable employment you can have AND you get fantastic benefits. Good luck to you whatever you choose!

In order to work in an ER, you must have good assessment skills. You need to think quick on your feet, know your drips, protocols, and know how to prioritize your care. You can learn good assessment skills on a med/surg floor.

In the ER, your pts don't come in with a diganosis like they do on the floor. They will get a diagnosis while in the ER. This is where your assessment skills come into play.

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Nothing wrong with starting in the ER as a new grad. I don't buy that "you must do med/surg before ER" line of thinking. Go where you want to be.

As with any floor, it's important that your hospital have a solid orientation program in place, combining theory with the hands-on preceptorship. My hospital uses the ENA approach along with preceptors that have gone through preceptor training and who want to precept.

I would suggest getting a job as a tech in your local ER. See how it works, how the staff interacts and if it still appeals to you. You may very well find out in nursing school that another area is even more attractive to you than ER.

Good luck, have fun with your journey.

hope3456, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Psych, M/S.

The job market is tight for nurses right now .....that said ER is about the most attractive place to new graduate RNs and you will probably be up against alot of competition - have a 'plan B' in place.

Thank you very much for your replies.

Like I said choices in this town are limited but the ER has always had an attraction for me.

Thanks again!