Er Tech?

  1. I know this is a "nursing" forum so I hope my non-nurse question isn't too intrusive

    I am a new CNA on a Med/Surg floor (3 months now ) . I had no medical experience before this job and so far think I am doing very well. I have aspirations of becoming a nurse but I realize that is a couple years down the road. As such I am trying to figure out my short-term goals.
    Like how can I learn the most? make more money? Etc.

    ER technician has popped up. The job sounds exciting and it seems like I could learn a ton of things that would help me when I enter into the nursing program. It would be months down the road but I wanna prepare as much as I can.

    How does an ER techs job differ from a CNAs? I know they do blood draws and EKGs, but what about the day to day routine of the ER from an ER techs perspective?

    What can I learn on Med/Surg that will help me in ER?
    Are there any books/Articles out there that will help me?

    Got any basic advice?
  2. Visit DS930 profile page

    About DS930

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 2


  3. by   CNAinNeb
    In my experience, the ER will not hire a tech that does not have lots of CNA experience. The posting may say no experience required, but when it comes down to it they go with more experienced CNA's or EMT's to fill the tech positions. It might be different in your area.
  4. by   Faeriewand
    Plebotomists do the blood draws not the ER tech. Or a tech with phlebotomy training. When hiring they look for experience as CNA, EMT and phlebotomist, and experience with EKG. Some places cross train as Unit Secretary too so you are basically a Jack-of-all-trades.

    Get plenty of experience as a CNA then go for EMT training then you can get a job in the ER. Even with that experience it might be tough to get hired in ER because that is where everyone else is applying!
  5. by   FlyingScot
    Every ER is different. Many hospitals no longer have phlebotomists, many do not require any phlebotomy training or any medical training whatsoever. The ER I recently left hired people with highschool diplomas and trained them themselves. Our techs were wonderful. They did vitals, lab draws, EKGs, Foleys and whatever else you needed. They could hang new bags of fluid on an existing IV (the RN got it out of the Pyxis and the techs were trained very specifically on patient ID and aseptic technique but really a monkey could hang a bag of fluid).They transported patients, helped clean them up or did it themselves if needed. My techs always helped with squad admits getting vitals and undressing the patients. They were just all around great help. If I had a good tech I knew no matter how busy it was my night would go well. Oh, they also set up for pelvics and assisted, set up suture trays, held the screaming suturee (usually 2 year olds) and did all the ortho stuff including OCLs (half casts), crutch fitting and training, bandages, wound irrigating. You name it. I'd probably cast it as a big step above CNA's in responsibility and scope of practice but again that depends on the ER. Our PSA's (patient service assistants) are more like a CNA they provided care such as feeding, cleaning, linen changes if needed but limited technical stuff. Now I know CNA's in LTC do a lot more technical things but that would be unusual for most ERs. Of course they paid the techs peanuts but it was a great stepping off point for them from an educational standpoint (hospital would send them to nursing school for free with a 2 year commitment to work as an RN once they graduated).
  6. by   Faeriewand
    Thanks for all the info FlyingScot. You make a good point about every ER being different. Your ER sounds like an awesome place to start out.
  7. by   RedSox33RN
    FlyingScot describes very well out ED also. Our techs are GREAT - we literally could not function without them! Many are also in nursing school. One of our techs just gave a wonderful in-service to all of us (RN's included!) on splinting techniques. Why? Because he is the BEST at it - even docs go to him asking which product would work best, etc. That is how good our techs are, and goes to show that no matter what your degree is, we can all learn from each other. It truly has to be a "team" department.
  8. by   Just Jojo
    If you are still interested in an ED tech position, I would suggest that you go down to the ED and speak with the Manager. Some hospitals "require" that you be an EMT or paramedic, but others do not. (I wonder, too, if the requirement might not be flexible if you show serious interest).
    When I was between my LVN and RN transition programs, I was hired as an ED tech in a large hospital in Texas. My experience there was incredible. It was fun and fast, an oh, the clinical experience I got. The first day I could barely find a Foley (or a place to put it!); in three weeks I could drop one in in the dark....I loved the job, and would recommend it to anyone.
    Again, go to the Manager of the ED, express interest, and maybe even offer to get your EMT certificate.
    If your current supervisor would agree to give you a referral, you may be surprised that you get hired sooner rather than later. Good luck!
  9. by   Faeriewand
    So nursingrox you worked as an ED tech when you were an LVN? because I just got hired as an ED tech and I will be testing for the LVN soon. How did that work out for you?
  10. by   Just Jojo
    Faeriewand, I was a brand new LVN, really just a new-grad. I had never worked as an LVN, and was not hired in the ED as an LVN. But I had clinical experience that included the skills they needed.
    My classmates went to long-term care facilities, but I wanted something different, so I waited and watched....
    It has turned out to be an excellent decision. Now that I have graduated from the ADN program, I have the ED experience that I think will open a door for me.
  11. by   pmose01
    In our ER, the Techs are licensed paramedics. They can do everything the nurse can except give drugs.
  12. by   RiderRN
    Hey DS930! I just wanted to share my experience and hope to inspire you! I just transitioned from ER Tech to ER RN this month! When I realized I wanted to be a flight nurse, I got my pre-reqs for nursing school completed and still faced a 1 and a half year waiting list. Soooo, I took a 1 semester class, got my EMT certificate and got a job in a local community hospital's ER and have been there for the past 2 and a half years. I graduated from nursing school in December, and started work as a RN this month. I was the first in my class to have a job, and feel like I gained invaluable experience as a Tech! I am such a better RN because of my experience, and I think my co-workers would say the same. If you are interested in Emergency Medicine, DEFINITELY work on becoming an ER Tech. In my ER, Tech's weren't allowed to draw blood, or do anything invasive, BUT we did do cool stuff like splints, casts, dressings, CPR, help in codes, run to codes, stock, transfer patients, and all the CNA type stuff. I learned so much "behind" the scenes stuff, like orders, how to get supplies, where to find stuff, etc. that it's been a much easier transition to RN. I wish you the best of luck.
  13. by   Faeriewand
    Quote from nursingrox
    Faeriewand, I was a brand new LVN, really just a new-grad. I had never worked as an LVN, and was not hired in the ED as an LVN. But I had clinical experience that included the skills they needed.
    My classmates went to long-term care facilities, but I wanted something different, so I waited and watched....
    It has turned out to be an excellent decision. Now that I have graduated from the ADN program, I have the ED experience that I think will open a door for me.
    Hmmmm well this is what I'm hoping will happen to me too! I will be working as a tech even after I get my LVN license. If a position as LVN opens up in the ER I will apply. IF not, I will wait. I think working in the ER will be great experience because this is where I want to make my nursing career.
  14. by   missybell
    Hi, I could not help from responding to your post. It is one that I would have written over a year ago. Since that time, so much has happened. I transitioned into nursing from the legal field where I had worked for many years. I want to do ER nursing as well...and I took the necessary steps to begin to prepare myself. Yes, it sounded "excited" as you said but it is NOT an easy place to work. You are literally dealing with someone's life and in many instances seconds count and you have to be able to make the RIGHT decision about what to do. So, unless you prepare, excitement is not a good thing unless you are ready for it. I am a nursing student and will go to clinicals in the next few months. I have worked hard to get here. Congrats to myself!

    First, you have to get hands on direct patient care experience. I did this for a year months working in the ortho and med/surg units at a local hospital. I also did LTC for a short period of time as well.

    Next, take advantage of every training class that is available to you, in house or independently. I even attended some classes that were open to the public. I put those classes on my resume. I thought a perspective employer may think they were foolish but that was not the case. Actually, it showed perseverance and my commitment to learning as much as I possible could regarding the health field.

    Learn as much as you can as a CNA. I did and I also asked as many questions as I possibly could. There are no dumb questions. I took advantage of any and every nurse who was willing to teach me something new or answer a question. After a while, nurses began to seek me out because they knew that I wanted to learn and whenever they had a learning opportunity for me to see something new, they sought me out. Congrats to them!

    Then, you have to apply, apply, apply. I was able to secure an ER Tech position and will begin my new job on 7/14/08. I took a lot of determination to finally get it. My ER Director told me that I was not the most experienced candidate but I was the only one who showed a continuous learning process and investment in myself. She also said I was the only one who mentioned treating a patient with dignity and respect during my interview. (I must have really been psyched because I couldn't recall what I said and I definitely did not ask but whatever I said, it worked).

    Bottom line is invest in yourself and it will pay off.

    Good luck and best wishes.