questions about nursing

by tk88 Member

I am a new nursing student just starting my pre-reps. I am looking for a job as a tech in an ER. I volunteered in a trauma center for about 6 months and got lots of experience as far as being in the environment and getting used to the way a ER runs. However, as a new nurse, will it be overwhelming to start out in the ER? My passion is ER, especially trauma. Can some experienced nurses give me some advice??? Thanks.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience. 6,765 Posts

Congrats on finding your niche so early! I would suggest at least a year in a med-surg environment tho.

You will learn the applications of all the theories you have learned through your clinicals.

It will make you a much better Er nurse.

Best of luck!:nurse:

rkitty198, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surge, Tele, Oncology, Wound Care. Has 11 years experience. 420 Posts

When I was in school I did my clinicals in the CCU and ICU. I wanted to go straight into ICU when I graduated. I was told to do med/surg first, by my preceptor. I was a little irritated by that, because I wanted so badly to work there. I was told "would you want a new nurse who hardly had experience, or a nurse who had a year experience taking care of your loved one?"

I started out in med/surg not because I took their advice, but because it was the only job I could get. It was hard to find a job anywhere at the time. I was so glad. I moved to Tele when I was a year out and med/surg really prepared me, not because I didnt understand critical care, but because I was much more organized and confident (which is so hard as a new grad- getting organized is the toughest part)

Now that is my story. I felt like this was the best for me. My friend who graduated with me went straight to ER and did wonderfully. I also had another friend who went to ER and two months into her orientation went to med/surg. It depends. I think your experience will help you a lot. You know what the energy is like and what is expected of you (vs my 4 weeks of clinicals in the ED).

That is why we have orientation programs, so you can see if it is for you. I wish you luck!

ImThatGuy, BSN, RN

2,139 Posts

"would you want a new nurse who hardly had experience, or a nurse who had a year experience taking care of your loved one?"

The new person would have no experience either way so that's a moot point.

Larry77, RN

Specializes in Trauma/ED. Has 10 years experience. 1,158 Posts

Either way can be done but in my area there has been a large influx of new grads so the specialty areas (ie ICU, and ED) can be more picky and only hire experienced nurses. That said we have hired 2 new grads in the last 2 years both being ex-techs in our dept. So if you can find an ED-tech job you may find your way in.

We have some crappy nurses that have all this "experience" which has been in very small departments that don't see sick patients...our ex-techs run circles around them.

ocean waves

Has 35 years experience. 143 Posts

Hello. Congratulations on starting your educational path to become a nurse by "starting the pre-reps". As other posters have said, traditional advice about first jobs for RN's tends to be to seek general experience such as working on a medical or surgical floor in a hospital. Another first job consideration, however, is the current challenge of a tighter nursing job market in the USA---in other words, if your passion is to work in an emergency room you may have to "grab" any ER nursing job opening where you can find it and ask for extra orientation as needed. Best wishes!


15 Posts

Thanks for the input. I am very new to this site and didn't expect to have this kind of feedback... I might be asking more questions before I'm through.... lol. Thanks again tho. Any advice is welcomed.... T.K.


Specializes in Trauma, Neuro, M&S ICU. Has 10 years experience. 64 Posts

I went straight into a specialization right after school. I also worked in the ED as a tech during school. If that is what you want, then GO for it! If they have a critical care or ED new grad program, or residency that is the best. You get the experience and teaching while learning your dept sepcifically. If you don't want to work med/surg, DON'T! Why spend years learning that when the ED is an entirely different animal. You will have to re-adjust and learn that when you transition. Good luck!


15 Posts

thanks alot!!! That's what I wanna hear :)... I know I want ED so why not go for it, especially if I can work as a tech in the ED while I'm in school it'll give me a little experience.... Thanks for the input.

ImThatGuy, BSN, RN

2,139 Posts

Yep, do what you want to do. I'm assuming the one year in med-surg, for whatever good one 12 month period is, is simply a matter of tradition that innovative thinkers are moving away from. I'm finding that nursing is full of traditions that need to go by the way side.


Specializes in Med/surg, rural CCU. Has 3 years experience. 186 Posts

I went straight into CCU as a new grad and have seen a few do the same since I started. We've all made it- but honestly- I don't recommend it. There is so much to learn straight out of school that IMO specialties just aren't the place for it. You are already dealing with time management, organization, when to call drs...

Ultimately- you might do fine starting in an ER....but you would probably do even BETTER if you started on med/surg first and got the basics down.

emtb2rn, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience. 2,836 Posts

If you want to be in the ER, then go for it. Everything is a specialty these days, including m/s, so why spend time there if you don't need to?

I'm always amazed when people say "i went straight into icu/ccu/er/whatever and did just fine but YOU won't". And they know this because? Follow your heart, get a gig as an ER tech and do what you want.