Will taking TNCC help me transition easier to ER?


I am a recent graduate nurse currently working in med-surg and I would like to transition to ER. It seems that without prior ER experience, however, no one wants to hire newer nurses. Does anyone know if taking the Trauma Nursing Core Course would give me a better chance of getting hired?

Specializes in Critical care.

I think it largely depends on the ED manager's perception of the course. I suggest developing some contacts with ED staff in your hospital. Make your face known to ED staff who respond to rapids/codes on your unit, attend any in-services or CE's they offer, etc. As an ICU nurse for a good while now, I remember the floor staff that stand out when I respond. (I'm in a 250 bed facility, so it's not so large that other staff easily get lost in a sea of 5000+ employees)

Specializes in ER, Trauma, Med-Surg/Tele, LTC. Has 13 years experience.

IMHO, TNCC is the type of course that means nothing without the experience to justify having it. Whatever potential positive exists in having it before working in an ED is negligible relative to the time and costs involved in getting it. I think Wile E Coyote's suggestion of developing contacts with ED staff is far more useful/beneficial. Find out if there's any way you'd be able to float to the ED sometimes. I work at a fairly large 600+ bed hospital and we sometimes float Med-Surg nurses into the fast-track area of the ED when we're short-staffed. If your hospital doesn't allow such things and considers the ED a closed unit, ask if you can shadow sometimes since you'd be interested in transferring someday.

Despite all this, my number one suggestion is to be good at what you're doing now in Med-Surg. Be a hard worker, a good coworker. Be someone your current manager would put in a good word for when you start inquiring about going to the ED. The easiest way to get into a new specialty is to transfer into it from your current place. You'll have a harder time moving into the ED without ED experience a completely different facility.

Specializes in Emergency. Has 21 years experience.

Agree w/squishy. Also see if your hospital covers med/surg holds in the ed. We don't put med/surg floats into fast track because they don't know the ortho stuff & fast track is faaaast.

bgxyrnf, MSN, RN

1,208 Posts

Specializes in Med-Tele; ED; ICU. Has 10 years experience.

Get to know some of the ED nurses by being the floor nurse that they *want* to give report to and to whom they want to deliver their patients to. Once you get to know them a bit, chat 'em up in the cafeteria or wherever. Eventually, they can help you get a chance.

I don't TNCC will help you much in terms of getting hired but it is interesting and does at least show interest and effort.


14 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, cardiac, ICU, CCU, neuro.

I agree: Make some connections in the ED! I went to a few job fairs held by a facility and talked to a couple of the same ED managers at each job fair. Ended up getting called for an interview with a couple of other managers but they had known who I was due to my previous conversations with their managers. Ended up getting the job and I am so excited to start! :)

Best of luck to you!


22 Posts

I dont think you need that to get in the ED, make sure you have your acls and pals. Just apply for a transfer and wait...


14 Posts

Specializes in Emergency, cardiac, ICU, CCU, neuro.

I think that some facilities don't necessarily "require" you to have ACLS and PALS. I know many that have you complete them within a certain amount of time after you have been hired. Some facilities also cover the costs but that is just the hospitals that I have seen! :D

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

Moved to the Emergency Nursing forum for more replies.


40 Posts

Specializes in ER. Has 1 years experience.

In our ED, it was a requirement to get it within your first 6 months or so (and hospital paid for it, yay). It is helpful to expose you to the emergency nursing way of thinking (I.e., rapid assessment and prioritization of your ABCs), but won't necessarily give you any street cred if that makes sense lol. I took TNCC within my first 45 days on the floor, but I had already taken ACLS and PALS right before my last semester of nursing school (which many people tried to discourage me from doing, but I found it helped me excel in my first year as a nurse), so it was a good follow-on to that even though I was lacking a bit in floor experience. If you haven't already, and you are trying to make yourself marketable to an ER, get ACLS and PALS first. Yes, employers will usually pay for you to take it once you're hired on, but if you are trying to be competitive and show you are committed to continuing to develop yourself as a professional, having those certs in hand helps (trust me when I say staying ahead of the pack will bring you dividends down the line!).

But also as mentioned above, networking can be the key to getting you where you want to go! In my ED, we are so slammed with high acuity cases most of the time that we easily end up holding/boarding inpatients (one day a few months ago, we were holding 36 of our 40 ER beds that were inpatients! And that went on for about 2-3 days). The ER nurses that had med/surg experience were our go-to resources for m/s documentation, time management tips etc! Don't be afraid to talk up the skills you already have, we use those in the ED too! :)


1 Article; 2,077 Posts

Specializes in Hospital medicine; NP precepting; staff education. Has 22 years experience.

To springboard off of the networking idea, pick up a shift or part of one as a tech in the ED. This way you get to see and participate in what is expected with less ... what's the word, accountability? I'm not sure if that's what I am trying to say. So let me put it this way: I floated as a flex nurse to the ED as a tech first. It oriented me to the environment, expected care and protocols, but I was able to observe in a manner that allowed me to absorb it without feeling overwhelmed with what I was learning. The technical skills anyone (for the most part) could do, and then immersion in the environment made it easier when the charge nurse said, "Guess what, you're not a tech today, we're short, I am giving you patients."

I actually never had a formal orientation. Scary, but I've been in the ED for at least 5 years now, and I don't regret it a bit.

ETA: I was a nurse working as a tech, I don't know if I made that clear.


558 Posts

Specializes in ED.

TNCC is more beneficial once you've had some ED experience.