Why you love/hate ER

Specialties Emergency


hi everyone! i am considering a move from ortho/trauma to er but am nervous about moving and being the "new guy" all over again. so, i wanted some opinions from those of you in the er. can you tell me what you love about being an er nurse, and also what you hate about it? thanks for your help!!!

What I love(d) about the ED (my ED time is 6 years ago last)


*the call to gear up really fast

*an opportunity to use all of your knowledge, thinking, experience, skills etc

*"guest appearance nursing"--if a pt drove you nuts, you knew they wouldn't be there long and (generally) wouldn't be there tomorrow

*Generally ED docs are smart, fun to work with, flexible and willing to respect nursing expertise

*Front row seat on humanity in all of it's ghastliness and glory

*A job that always finds a way to show you something "new" now and then

What I hated

*Frequently flyers (repeaters that come in for loneliness, stupidity, poor self-management, etc). Even though you even grew to like some of these folks, they grind you down by showing up on your busiest nights

*Exposures to violence, disrespect etc and some of the saddest folks on earth and, alas, the children they bear

*Having admin tell me, "that ER is PR," which I agree with, but they tell you that by way of letting you know that they expect you to take (at times) unbelievable loads of c**p in the name of PR

*the expectation of doing the undoable: seeing people promptly when they're stacked to the rafters; trying to meet the public's burger king expectations (fast food care) while sorting out the really sick from the drunk and the obnoxious (and BTW, occasionally the really sick are the drunk and the obnoxious); having absolutely no control over how many people come through your doors and being expected to maintain very high standards of care; sometimes having more info to process than you could process.

*the risk of litigation about factors that you cannot always control

ED remains the only hospital role that could lure me back to the hospital.

Been doing ER for 19yrs. My loves and hates are similar to Molly's.

I love,

The fast pace

Having to know and learning alot about all aspects of nursing

Watching a pt that comes in in acute distress stablize and feel better with your intervention.

Making a childs first experience with getting stitches not so bad.

Holding a elderly ladies hand when the doc tells her that her husband passed away.

Working as a team to get the job done(we do it well in our ER)

Working with great docs that depend on our expertise and respect the job that we do.

Seeing a multitude of problems both physical and emotional and knowing what to do to help.

Seeing some pt's as Molly said for only a few hours and they are gone.

Learning new things every day!!

What I hate

People that complain that they have been waiting too long with nonurgent complaints, when you've busted your butt helping an acutely ill pt.

People that don't stay in their rooms because they don't want to miss anything.

Mean drunks and drug seekers.

People that reproduce when they shouldn't

When you can't save someone.

Dying or gravely ill children.

Excessive paper work(complaint in every aspect of nursing)

Stupid phone calls that take you away from the bedside.

Demanding frequent flyers that aren't sick but want to be.

No back up from administration when a pt complains and it's unfounded.

Slow ER docs(we have two)

Oh well that's enough all in all I think you'll love it. It's fast and furious and you're always learning. Buy some good shoes you'll need em. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

hey blue? after reading the previous posts......i'm not sure i have anything left to add? they covered it all :)

I don't have much to add except:

I hate having patients come in to see "their" doctor at 3 in the morning and they won't take no for an answer.

Drs. who send their patients to the ER instead of their office to perform simple procedures like casting, and they expect you to leave critical folks to help them!

I LOVE getting to see people who have been clinically dead, or close too it walk back in our doors. Makes all the other stuff pale in comparision!

Well put everyone!!!!! I agree 100%!!!!!! I've been an ER nurse 8 years and have to say am faced with a new challange everyday, so Bluebear my advice is go for it, learn, be flexable, put on your PR smile and enjoy your new job, if you don't like it you can always focus on another part of nursing, but you'll have your past experiences as an ER nurse. I think ER nurses are the envy of nursing cause you have to know alittle bit about eveything from delivering a baby to caring for a cancer patient. Let me know how you like it, I'm an e-mail away if you get tired feet.

Been in ER 1 1/2 year. Love it !! I can't imagine ever doing anything else. I will be hear until I burn out or die.

My favorite : Acute MI- saving someones life and or just giving them a few more years by giving thrombolytics, nitro and other good live saving drugs.

What I hate most: Fakers and Liars acting and Flopping

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

ok i got one i truly hate......well actually two?

drug seekers........who feel we are too stupid to realize when they come in complaining of a headache, and are allergic to all nsaids, asa, compazine, tylenol, and anything else that can be given. then they say, i bet demeral or morphine would help? i even had one guy claim he was in for a refill on his dilauded, but it ran out.

ok and the second........the prisoners brought in by the police because they suddenly developed abd pain, or they are a diabetic and their blood sugar feels low or high, or the police brutalized them..........yet there are no bruises or other objective signs of injury? morons...all of them!

What they said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D


Specializes in ER, Hospice, CCU, PCU.

Been an ER nurse for > 20 years (Am I really that old:confused: )

I really love not knowing what will come through the door next, Keeps you on your toes and keeps the grey matter working.

I hate the NEW Customer Service attitudes. I was taught you do what is best for the patient. Now they day do what the patient wants. " Ok Mr. Smith, you've ordered 100mg of Morphine, will that be IV? ;) "

Honestly, take a shot at it. It is one speciality that you will quickly know whether you love it or hate it.

Good luck

I hate dealing with the new residents in July. "Are you sure you want to order the insulin PO?" "A bolus of KCL 40meq? What prison is this?" Honest it really happened!

Specializes in Everything except surgery.

People that reproduce when they shouldn't

:roll: :roll: :roll:

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