What do you want to know as an ER nurse?

Specialties Emergency


Specializes in ER.

Hi all!

I am working on writing and publishing an informal ER nurse guidebook with survival tips/tricks based on my own personal experience. 

I want this to be more informal/conversational based on my experience as an ER nurse rather than most of the booklets I've seen that are out there that revolve around hard facts about meds, the pathophys of disease processes etc.

I am gearing this towards new grads / new ER nurses, so I would love to know:

What kinds of questions do you have about working in the ER? What types of advice/stories would you like to read and learn about? I would love to hear your opinions about what questions/topics would be helpful to include. 

Examples of topics I am going to include: bedside shift report, calling docs, how to handle holds/boarded patients, IV tips, etc.

Thanks for the input!

Anything less than an 18 ga IV in a potential surgical patient is worthless. If you can't do that, don't burn an AC vein for a 20 ga or less.

Specializes in Emergency (CEN) and Critical Care (CCRN-CMC)_SRNA.

Get comfortable with the crash cart and Zoll/Lifepak right off the bat while on orientation. Learn to mix your emergency meds from the jump. Learn your pressors, inodilators, antiarrhythmics, antihypertensives, sedatives, paralytics, benzos, barbiturates, antidotes, etc.

Get USGIV certified/trained so you can be as autonomous as possible and not have to wait for a resident/doc/another nurse to cannulate your difficult access patients; aka your DKA'ers, IVDA'ers, and geriatrics with delicate veins...

Pursue specialty certification. If you're going to advocate, know what you're advocating for and don't just blindly request something without knowing what you're requesting. 

Don't be task oriented your entire ED career...learn the why.

Specializes in ER, ICU.

I hear this request a lot.  This a little list that I've accumulated over the years.  

ER Pearls

#1 - It's the patient's emergency, not yours. 

#2 - When you feel like you need to rush, slow down.  You'll make fewer mistakes and get done quicker. 

#3 - You studied hard to get where you are.  Keep studying hard so that you're prepared for anything.  

#4 - As long as you stick to #3, feel at peace with yourself that you've done everything you possibly can...  sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

#5 - Triage doesn't happen just at the beginning of each patients visit.  Learn to "triage" your to-do list throughout your shift.  Prioritization will keep your patients alive.

#6 - Know your limits.  The limits of your knowledge.  The limits of your skills.  Knowing these limits and when to ask for help will keep you out of trouble and save lives.  

#7 - Never let them see you sweat.  

#8 - Whenever you feel like you're having the worst shift of your life, take a look around at the patients.  You're still having a better night than they are. It's all about perspective.

#9 - Pace yourself... no matter how hard you try, the ER is NEVER caught up.

#10 - Know when it's time to take care of yourself.  There's more to life than the ER.  

#11 - Nurses make a career out of the ER.... They rarely RETIRE from the ER.  Make the most out of your time in the ER, but always consider your exit plan.


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