Tips for becoming an ER nurse

  1. I am a first year nursing student (associates program). I am very interested in the ER and am wondering about the best way to get there.

    I am currently working outside the medical filed so have no experience, my question is after completing the fundamentals semester can I work as a CNA in the ER? or do I need a CNA certificate? Quitting my current job is no problem , I will do anything to get experience.

    Thanks for any suggestions, tips.
  2. Visit MagsRN2008 profile page

    About MagsRN2008

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 58; Likes: 2
    from US


  3. by   Mr. Grumpy
    Grow some balls and go to your local ED. After explaining your situation, ask the charge nurse or nurse manager if you can observe the ED in action. If you have to make up some story about having to write a paper for nursing school, then do so. After gaining some trust, help make stretchers or wipe down porta-potties. Then after about 4 hours of doing this, ask about jobs. If the ED is hiring, put in an app. and wait for a response. Do this about 2-3 times and you should be making stretchers and wiping potties for cash. Once you graduate, you might get a raise for doing these things.
  4. by   zaggar
    I would love to rip Mr. Grumpy a new one about how wrong and insensitive he is.

    but that's good advice. Like rock solid advice.
    Last edit by zaggar on Oct 9, '06
  5. by   kyboyrn

    At the hospital where I work, we have ER techs. ER techs require no experience starting out, and are trained on the job. After a few months of training, they can get certified to apply splints, draw blood (great experience for finding veins to start IVs), transport patients, draw blood cultures, obtain vitals, etc. Like I said, this job requires NO EXPERIENCE starting out. It doesn't pay real well, but the experience is invaluable starting out. I have been an ER nurse for a year and a half now (first nursing job I've got), and I love it. A lot of the techs are more knowledgeable than I am, and I wish I would have done it. Some of the nurses I work with did, and it helped them a lot. There may be some hospitals in your area that have such positions. Look around and see what you can find.

    ARNP school; Fall 2007
  6. by   PedsNurse322
    I work in an EC as a Unit Sec'y... my manager told me that after I finish my first med/surg rotation, I can work as an EC tech.

    I know that in this hospital, and in the hospital I worked at previously, they require EMT training to become an EC tech. And they are paid decently - I make $17/hr as a sec'y, and techs are a paygrade higher than me. I can't wait to become a tech, because the learning experience will be invaluable - I'll be drawing blood, starting IVs, inserting foleys, and more. After I graduate from the program, then I'll be a GN until I pass the boards.. and then I can be an RN here. That's my route to becoming an EC nurse :-)

    (But every hospital is different...)

    If I were you, I would look into being a volunteer (if you can afford to) - we always appreciate our volunteers, and it really is a good way to get your foot in the door. Or... another job that requires no experience that we have here is a transporter - taking patients to xray, CT, their inpt rooms, etc. The unit sec'y route is good, although the job also requires training in most places.

    Or - get any job that you can in the hospital to get your foot in the door, and work your way to the EC.

    Ask around - do you have any friends/family that work in a hospital that can help you get in?

    Good luck! (you're going to love it!)

  7. by   MagsRN2008
    thks everyone for your responses and advice. i live in nyc so plenty of hospitals to try.

    many thks once again
  8. by   HRM672
    You get paid $17 an hour as a secretary?? New grads BSN make around 20-22 here (Atlanta). Maybe I will move to Michigan
  9. by   NoMoreStudying
    I got a job as a ER tech halfway through nursing school. I didn't need a CNA b/c I had completed Fundamentals. Although, that may vary by state. I was hired upon graduation as a new grad RN. Actually, the last 8 months of nursing school I only heard "when do you graduate? did you graduate yet? can you graduate early?"

    It was very good experience. A good rule of thumb I learned in orientation though: You have to care for 90% of the regular patients to get to the 10% of really sick, exciting ones.

    Oh yeah, and don't forget, the pts in the ED still poo and pee. Some people always seem to think we don't have to deal with that.
  10. by   AfloydRN
    Yes, Michigan RN's do very well- pay scale. First work in a large city and try for union.
  11. by   A.Brook
    I also work in the local ER as a tech. I started with no healthcare experience whatsoever, but was able to become certified to do just about any procedure short of giving meds and starting IVs. Where I live the techs only start at about $8/hr though. :smackingf