Quote from AfloydRN
I disagree w/ previous because in my experience in ED we are not allowed to critically think. It is all procedure based. Theres not alot of thinking w/ that. Pt comes in w/ CHF- follow the protocol. Now in ICU- we have to be on our toes because we are monitoring the pt- not the MD. You have to be able to look at trending and anticipate whats going on. They are both good and bad. There is no nursing utopia
I tend to agree with Afloyd (but i'm biased because i work ICU, my shifts in ER are limited to a handful). ICU nurses are given more autononomy (in the form of ordering labs,xrays, etc.),deal with more advanced equipment, and are (most of the time) without the help of a near-by doctor.
AND despite what you think/hear/see on TV, aside from a few large urban settings, the vast majority of ER's are more medical/office than critical-care. There's a good chance that on any given shift an ER nurse wont care for a critically sick patient, however the icu nurse takes care of critically sick patients all day every day.
As far as trauma...i disagree that 'er puts em together, icu keeps them that way'. it's more like this :"er stabilizes them as best they can, OR puts them back together..and icu blah blah blah". Contrary to popular belief, trauma surgery doesnt take place in the ED. The main thing about ED is that when a trauma patient comes in, you get to cut clothes off, deal with alot of blood and excitement, run them to cat-scanners...start lines and help the doc w/procedures (chest-tubes,etc). BUT, bad trauma patients do better if they LEAVE the er (for surgery) as soon as possible. (Level I and 2 trauma centers are clasified as such NOT because they have a better ED(though they usually do), but because they have SURGEONS available all the time).
And if you think icu nurses dont run (and get fat), you're delusional...and/or it's not a typical icu.
And someone else said it well...on a busy day, er nurses are pulled in a gazillion directions for a gazillion patients...icu nurses are pulled in a gazillion directions for 1 or 2. The difference being the number (and acuity) of patients.