1. how many years have you been a nurse? a few months short of 3 years. i have been a nurse in the ed for just over a year.
2. what is your educational background and/or specialty certifications do you hold? i have an aas in nursing.
3. what is the most rewarding aspect of your job as an ed nurse? the fact that we do things in the here and now to help an immediate problem. when i send people home, they often feel better than when they got there. i feel like i make a real difference, which i didn't feel when i was a floor nurse.
4. what situations are the most challenging for you as a nurse in this department? the biggest challenge is trying to manage the care of more and more patients without a similar increase in resources. we seem to have more patients who are more acute. also, the people who aren't truly sick take away the time and resources from those that really need it.
5. why did you choose to go into emergency medicine as a nurse? i got very tired of working on the floor, and seeing the same patients day in and day out and not feeling i was making a difference. i like the fast pace and the (relatively) fast turnover. i like seeing a little of everything every day.
6. has there ever been a time when you wish you wern't an ed nurse? no.
7. is there a memorable experiance that stands out as you think back as your experiance as an ed nurse? it's hard to say without violating hippa...when people tell me i really helped them, it stands out to me. (and it is often not related to their actual medical/nursing care) one time i had a patient who came in with mostly anxiety-related symptoms. i took the time to ask her what was going on, and it turns out she was recently diagnosed with cancer, she did not speak much english, and she didn't really even understand her illness or the treatments. i was familiar through my experiences with the type of cancer that she had, as well as with the medication she was taking. i explained the basic mechanisms of her illness, and told her about the medication side effects. she explained that the medicine was very expensive, that she didn't have the funds. i was able to find the name of the drug manufacturer's program for reduced-cost medication, and i was also able to give her information on a local support community for her type of cancer. this young woman came in feeling alone and scared and left with a plan and a new sense of hope. she cried and hugged me when i discharged her, thanking me for giving her hope. this is not the kind of 'blood and guts' experience or even one of the most moderate heroics, but its one that impacted me strongly.
what would i tell a new nurse? well, the standard stuff about comfy shoes. but seriously, keep your eyes open and ask questions. always ask if you don't know. trust your instincts; if you find something in your patient that doesn't seem right, bring it the attention of your preceptor, your doctor, or another nurse. your instincts will sharpen the longer you do this job. if you begin to feel overwhelmed, ask for help. teamwork is huge in an ed and most people will help you out. you need to remember to reciprocate as well. grow some armour too--you will see things that will affect you on many levels. it is okay to use therapeutic use of self but if you get too emotionally involved you will burn out. not all outcomes are good and you have to be prepared for that. its okay to cry with your patients.