Online Training and 8 weeks of orientation?


  • Specializes in High-risk OB, Labor & Delivery. Has 5 years experience.

Hi All! I just interviewed for an ER training program this morning. I found out that it's an 8 week training program with one preceptor (possibly a second preceptor if the primary preceptor is on vacation) and online learning through ENA's Emergency Nursing Orientation course.

I have 5 years of experience in high-risk OB and some PCU/tele experience too. Given that I have this experience, I understand that the training won't be as long as it would be for a new grad.

Just curious, does 8 weeks AND online learning sound reasonable to train floor nurses to the ER? If you were a previous med-surg RN, how long was your training? Did you have training in a classroom setting? Has anyone completed the ENA orientation course? If so, how effective was it for preparing you for the real-world ER?

I'm interested to know how other hospitals train their experienced nurses to this speciality, because 8 weeks doesn't seem that thorough to me.

Thank you :-)

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Sounds like a long orientation for a nurse with experience.

CraigB-RN, MSN, RN

1,224 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency, Education, Informatics. Has 40 years experience.

Take the 8 weeks and enjoy it. The change in specialty is pretty significant. Just jump in and go for it. Be aggressive and don't wait to be told. Ask questions. You might find it takes a little less time than the 8 weeks, but enjoy it while you can.

Specializes in Medical Surgical, Dialysis and ER.

I just transferred to the Emergency Room and currently on orientation. My orientation is 6 weeks. Patient care is patient care but fact is ER nursing is a different ball game. You will build on your skills. The pace is fast, there is a high patient turnover and so much to learn. The 8 weeks are well worth it and you will probably appreciate it in the long run. Good Luck

Specializes in Emergency.

8 weeks sounds wonderful! I'm a new grad and have a 6 week orientation, I was taking two patients my first week on the job. I have no experience with the ENA online orientation, but I've been using Sheehy's emergency nursing text and it's been really helpful. Good luck :-)

Specializes in ER, progressive care. Has 7 years experience.

Sounds adequate for an experienced nurse.

You're lucky... I worked for 2 years on a progressive care unit before I made the transition to ER nursing and they just threw me into the mix!


453 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

medsurg rn with one and half yr exp. I think it wouldn't matter even if I had 10+ yrs exp in MS floor. ER has pace of its own and that pace is called insanity. But you were in high acuity L&D, so you could be more used to high pace. but i still think there is no place where pace is faster than ER.

Mine is 13 weeks, but seriously, no amt of service on ms floor can ready any nurse to work at ER in just couple weeks. I'm sure I will need at least 6 months to get kind of comfy. if you have lots of resources like numerous techs, ekg peeps, rts, lab peeps, that is cool. I don't have any of that :***(

Specializes in High-risk OB, Labor & Delivery. Has 5 years experience.

Thanks for all your responses and encouragement. I was interested to see how this training program compares to others, and it looks like I have a lot to be thankful for with an 8-week orientation. But it is interesting to note how different hospitals vary in the length and quality of their training into this specialty. I would imagine that more lengthy and thorough training would go into developing RNs in this specialty, given the life-and-death situations that occur on a regular basis; the stakes are higher in ER where patients are unstable.

I was well-trained through multiple modalities on my old OB floor and I was able to be a highly competent RN and provide great care to my patients and my team because of what they did to invest in training me, which I highly appreciate.

I found one hospital system that offers a 12-week training program and I was impressed by what they offer:

"An online educational component developed by The Emergency Nursing Association

Lectures by expert speakers who generalize the didactic to the bedside

Hands-on skills and simulation learning

Clinical orientation with trained preceptors in the emergency departments across the system"

Wow. Sounds like some high-quality training.



0 Posts

Our standard orientation is 10 weeks plus/minus as needed.

Except people coming out of large, urban EDs, most end up in the 10-12 just because it's a different beast and we have so many different roles to fill.

In my case, in three years of rural ED nursing, I'd never taken care of a vented patient. Same with severe burns. Same with severe trauma. Same with learning to work with residents. Same with violent psych patients. There was a lot that I already had in the bag but a lot that took me some time to get the hang of.

I'm of the opinion that the best training is that which begins with a comprehensive assessment of one's baseline knowledge and experience and then progresses from there. In my case, I didn't need time with the chest painers, PE, sepsis, acute appy, etc... and the shifts that I spent with those types of patients were largely wasted.

allnurses Guide

JBudd, MSN

1 Article; 3,836 Posts

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 42 years experience.

ENA has great resources. I did MS for 13 or 14 years before moving to ER; I found TNCC to be of the most help in getting into the swing of it, just to help set priorities. No matter how long you've been a nurse, it takes a good year to be comfortable. Ours is a trauma center, so the newer nurses are shunted to the zones of mostly clinic type patients, medium heavy, and given extra time before being put on the front line of fire with big traumas.

8 weeks sounds pretty good, just don't let them pull you off early!

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Lunah, MSN, RN

33 Articles; 13,743 Posts

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 15 years experience.

I did the online ENA modules as part of my ER fellowship in 2008. It's great material. When I did it, it was largely based on Sheehy's Emergency Nursing: Principles and Practice, 6th Edition: