[font="comic sans ms"]i, too, came to the ed from a critical care background. it can be very difficult to move from a two-patient-critical mindset to a 10-patient-minor-care mindset.
that being said, i have found that the fast-track/minor care patients can be the most challenging to me. it is the assignment most nurses love. to me, it can be the hardest. why? it is all about charting quickly, and getting them back and then out of the ed. most need no actual nursing intervention. they usually need a splint, maybe, or possibly an abx shot, tetanus shot. many days, it seems like an assembly line. especially since it is the techs in the er that do the splinting (i know i can't do it :chuckle )
when i work there, it is usually only for a 4 hour shift, so i don't even worry about the break issue. i don't need a break for 4 hours. and i spend most of my time typing up d/c instriuctions and work excuses. but, my question would be this: if the patients are non-urgent, why can't you take a break? so what if they wait an extra few minutes for their discharge? as others have posted on this site: a discharged patient is the least critical patient. i'll get to it when i get there. you wait or you go home. i'm hoping you stay to get your d/c instructions, but if you don't, oh well. i refuse to obsess about it. (i obsess about enough as it is).
as to why you are being assigned to that area, it is probably considered to be one of the "easier" areas in your ed. in my ed, the newer nurses get what is preceived to be the "easier" assignment, regardess of what that nurse finds easy/hard. there is a certain assignment in my ed that i absoutely despise, even though it is considered to be "easy." many nurses that i work with love it, even though i hate it. my solution? they are happy to switch with me when i ask. if that doesnt' work for you, you are just going to have to talk to the charge nurse about your needs. it is also possible that they see your great critical care skills, and want to see how you handle the dailly crap that comes in (otherwise known as stuff that should be seen in the md office, but isn't for a variety of reasons, including the mds that say "we don't lace boils in the office, go to the er").
anyway, keep on going. the beauty of the er is that there is a wide variety of stuff that walks through the doors. everything from the gunshot wound to the acute mi to the n/v/d x 30 min.....you have to be able to treat it all.....and be diplomatic of it all. even when i see track marks.....i still smile, put on my gloves, start that iv, and give the diludid......very slow ivp. because that is what my patient deserves.
edited to add: i just don't get the moaning/groaning i see about assignments in the ed. sure, i complained about it when i was in icu, 'cause we'd be stuck with the pita patient for 12 hours (or sometimes, for the whole weekend, in the spirit of "continuity of care"). but in the ed, most rooms are going to turn over at least 3 times in a 12 hour shift. why complain? (unless, of course, you were assigned to the pid room. my ed doesn't have a specific "pelvic exam" room, but if it did, i think i'd get irriated if i got it often:chuckle) otherwise, take it all in stride. the key,though (i swear) is finding out what your collegues like/hate. you'd be surprised at what kind of deals you can make!)