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What Is an Emergency Room Nurse and How to Become One

What Does an Emergency Room Nurse Do?

Emergency room nurses provide urgent care and services to patients admitted to the emergency room in a hospital. They determine the level of injury-from bone injuries to heart attacks-and monitor the patient until they are transferred or discharged. Emergency room nurses follow the doctor's assessment for treatment; duties may include bandaging wounds, administering medications, and inserting intravenous (IV) lines. Registered nurses (RNs) need specialized training and knowledge in emergency health care to work in the emergency room.

How to Become an Emergency Room Nurse

To become an emergency room nurse, complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a nursing school program, and pass the licensing exam to become a registered nurse (RN). Pursue clinical hours in an emergency room/trauma care center as part of your RN training. Most nurses work as a general RN for a few years, providing general patient care, to gain experience before applying for an emergency room position.

What Makes a Good Emergency Room Nurse?

To be a good emergency room nurse, become very familiar with the emergency room or trauma center where you work; each one functions in its own way. Build a good reputation with the doctors, nurses, and technicians on your team by being efficient with your assessments and compassionate with your patients. Provide quality care to each patient. Be a team player; help your fellow nurses and doctors whenever possible and be a positive influence on those around you.

Where Do Emergency Room Nurses Work?

Emergency room nurses work in emergency rooms and trauma centers. These departments are usually found within a hospital facility, but can also be free-standing, such as urgent care centers. Emergency room nurses work in various areas of the unit. Some work in triage, completing patient intakes and assessing the urgency of the situation. Others work directly with patients and, alongside the doctors, assess patient’s and provide treatment. Senior nurses manage the nursing staff and oversee the operations of the department.

Emergency Room Nurse Job Description Sample

With this Emergency Room Nurse job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Emergency Room Nurse role.

Job Summary

We are currently seeking a highly-skilled, compassionate, and reliable emergency room nurse to serve in the emergency department of our growing hospital. In this role, you will deliver exceptional patient care in a fast-paced, Level 1 trauma center alongside a team of dedicated health professionals. To succeed in this position, you will be confident in your skills, committed to exceptional patient care, and safety-aware at all times.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Quickly and accurately assess patient care needs
  • Work collaboratively with doctors and staff to provide exceptional care
  • Perform all requested diagnostic tests
  • Diagnose and develop treatment plans collaboratively with doctors and staff
  • Manage multiple cases simultaneously, prioritizing needs continually
  • Comply with all legal and safety requirements at all times
  • Maintain a clean, sanitary, and organized work environment
  • Work at maximum efficiency without compromising quality of care
  • Abide by all hospital rules and regulations
  • Act in a composed and professional manner, especially under pressure
  • Monitor coworkers and voice concerns to minimize errors
  • Provide follow up care instructions to patients and make necessary referrals
  • Maintain accurate and up-to-date patient charts
  • Attend all required training and continuing education events

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Associate or bachelor's degree in nursing required
  • Current nursing license in good standing
  • Basic Life Support certification required; Advanced certification preferred
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certified (ACLS) within six months of hire
  • Current CPR certification
  • Able to pass background check and drug screening
  • Able to pass physical exam; all vaccines up to date
  • 4 years' experience minimum in nursing, preferably in an ER setting
  • Exemplary work history demonstrating a solid working knowledge of patient care
  • Passion for continued learning and skill development
  • Able to perform physically demanding tasks and work long shifts
  • Able to lift 30 lbs on a regular basis
  • Exceptional communication skills, written and verbal
  • Able to thrive in a fast-paced, high-pressure work environment
  • Team-player mentality and a positive attitude
  • Outstanding bedside manner