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What made you decide to do ER Nursing?


Specializes in ICU. Has 6 years experience.

I'm still going through nursing school, but I'd previously not had any preference for a specialty. Nothing had caught my interest - but I'd been able to rule out many areas! Until I got to do a rotation to the ER yesterday! I loved it!! Problem - I don't know if I'm "cut out" to be an ER nurse. How did you know you could handle it? What kind of person does it take to be an ER nurse? And what made you decide to work in the ER? From your experience - do Emergency Departments hire new grads? Would you recommend going right into ER or working Med/Surg for a year or so first?

Thanks for your help!! :loveya:


Specializes in ER. Has 3 years experience.

I started out in the ER as a new grad. Like you I didn't have a preference. The ER just happened to offer the job first. And here I am almost 2 years later! I am actually looking to move to a less acute area.


Specializes in burn, geriatric, rehab, wound care, ER. Has 25 years experience.

I took an inventory of work activities I enjoyed - they all seemed to point to ER nursing. I had already been an RN for 18 years when I switched and had always thought that it would be too stressful, so I had avoided it. But I feel like it is a good fit for me. I don't know how confident I would have been doing it straight after graduating - it might be an idea to do some med surg first -you can get some pretty critical/difficult patients to look after. But then if they have a new grad program available then why not - just make sure you get a really good preceptor. Good luck.


Specializes in Emergency Medicine. Has 17 years experience.

For me it was the fast-paced world of medicine.

I mean, where else can you go and work 12-hrs and give up your lunch break most of the time?

To live off maybe 2 diet Cokes and perhaps 1 trip to the bathroom all shift?

I almost considered starting smoking because most smokers WILL take all their breaks.:up:

Hmmm, sometimes it's the satisfaction of telling that woman that came in for chronic knee pain for the past 8 months (and it became an emergency @ 2:30 a.m.) that she doesn't meet emergency criteria and has to wait for "just a little while".:D

Maybe it's the puke, diarrhea, and foley catheters... well, the smell anyway. Ooooh, GI Bleed Love it.

Speaking of smells.... Nothing quite like the smell of a homeless, unkempt alcoholic that drinks Listerine to get high.

The metabolized listerine coming through those pores will make you forget really quickly they're also incontinent bowel & bladder (for the past week). :specs:

Seekers! Gotta mention the seekers. The patients that spend more time in the ER than YOU do and they PAY you to be there.

What seems to be the trouble tonight? Back Pain? Abdominal Pain, Headache? The duragesic patches, methadone and oxycontin don't seem to be doing anything for you??? Wow.

The percocet-10's don't seem to work any more for your "breakthrough" pain. Hmmmmm, that's strange.

Are you allergic to any medications? All NSAIDS, Toradol, Codeine, Lortab, Ultram, and Haldol. Thought so...

(anyone telling you they're allergic to Haldol, BIG RED FLAG)

What seems to work ...? Starts with a "D"??? Demerol, Dilaudid? Oh yea.

Naaaah, none of that. It's the blood and guts. Trauma!

-The man vs. Car... Motorcycle v. Truck... Truck v. Train. (How do you get hit by a train really. Not like they swerve to take you out).

-The person that pours the gasoline on the fire to "get it going better".

-The one that thought he could make that jump.

-The one that was walking down the street minding his own business that got shot by "a couple of dudes"

-That guy that crashed that only had "3 beers" with a ETOH level of 426

The list goes on and on. I just love it. Wouldn't do anything else...

Jerry 75

Specializes in ER, Psych, Telephone Triage.

EMT to Medic to ER RN very similar style to working Medic-quick pt. turnover, very diversified trauma to peds to ob gyn to cardiac arrest, exciting. I would have wilted going directly from school to Med Surg


Specializes in ED. Has 3 years experience.

You know what? I didn't know if I was "cut out" to work in the ER either. I knew that I thought I would like to work there, but I was afraid that I just wouldn't have what it takes. I have a laid back, quiet personality, and am not naturally assertive. I am, however, able to take charge when needed. I've learned a lot since I started working in the ER, and I absolutely love it! There are all kinds of personalities in the ER!


Specializes in med/surg 1 year, ER 5 years. Has 5 years experience.

I started out as a med/surg nurse but got tired of being a maid and doctor's doormat. I like the ER because there is more autonomy, more variation, more experiences, and more excitement. I personally like to see and do procedures and I like the acuity of the ER. To be an ER nurse, you must be comfortable with death and must work well under pressure. Honestly, it's all about personality and no one can tell you if you're right for the job...you have to try it and see if you like it.


Specializes in M/S, Tele, Peds, ER. Has 4 years experience.

Yes some ERs hire new grads

Yes in your case (though not all cases) I'd personally recommend some floor experience first (for debates on whether floor experience is necessary, see other threads where this is debated ad nauseum)

Yes I think the ER could stilll totally be for you.

There is indeed a stereotypical personality type that people picture an ER nurse to have. Type A, loud, assertive, confident, no-BS attitude, etc. And the people who fit that are amazing, no doubt. Its a powerful personality but it also has its fallbacks just like any other.

I've worked in the ER for awhile and I've seen ALL types of personalities thrive there!

You'll also find that you BECOME more assertive, confident, etc with good old fashioned time and experience.

Good luck!

Jerry 75

Specializes in ER, Psych, Telephone Triage.

So true! Lots of heavy duty up front assertive Nurses that balance out with a few lo key attitudes also. Thats what makes the ER fun so many multifaceted personalities

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

I came to the ER when we moved to another state and they didn't have very many openings. They did have 2 part time positions in the ER that they put together to give me full time. Worked in that level one trauma center for 10 years!

Love the ER!

I'm an APN now (adult) and back in school to do peds....only prn now.


Specializes in ER. Has 15 years experience.

Initially, as a kid, the ER was on my radar because of my mom who would come home from work (in an ER) with the smell of alcohol wipes and splats of blood on her shoes. I thought, "wow, now there's an exciting job." Of course I don't smell of alcohol wipes or having splats of blood anywhere on my person....

oh and a nose bleed I applied pressure to on the playground when I was in First grade. That was memorable.

My husband involved in a motorcycle crash and running him to the local small town ER, with our 5 month old baby in tow, just to be uninformed by the staff. All of these reasons (and I'm sure many more) formed an impression upon me and made me want to do a great job for what I thought should be an ER nurse.

I have always been able to think on my feet, and I love that aspect of ER nursing.

Pixie.RN, MSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN. Has 12 years experience.

I was (still am) a paramedic, and I worked in an ED while going to nursing school. I'm an RN in the same ED now; seemed like a natural progression for me. I also started in the ED straight out of school, but I also had a lot of ED experience (albeit on a different level), as well as emergency and patient care experience. There are pros and cons to new grads going directly to the ED. I'm glad I did, but I've seen totally green new grads come in and not do so well. After my first few days of orientation, I told my nurse manager, "I don't think I'd WANT to come straight to the ED as a totally green new grad!" LOL

I just transferred from Tele unit to ER in 11/2015. I did 9 months on tele unit including 3 months of training. However, I am having hard time trying to grasp time management and priority. I'm starting to know the meds as I come across them. I would like to know of books, tips, or advices that you can give me to help me transition from tele unit type of nursing to ER fast paced nursing. How did you manage time and prioritized? how long was your orientation? were you prepared after your orientation to be on your own? What can i do to improve my nursing, or grow confidence, or help me with fast paced nursing? Any comments, suggestions, and/or tips will be appreciated. Thank you in advance.