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Emergency Nursing

What is Emergency Nursing?

Unsurprisingly, emergency nurses care for patients who are having emergencies. Most commonly, emergency nurses work in the Emergency Room, though they can also work in settings such as ambulances and urgent care centers. Emergency nurses are responsible for helping to stabilize patients' conditions, administering quick treatment, and helping patients and their families feel at ease in a stressful situation. These nurses see a large variety of illnesses and injuries, though most patients are experiencing some sort of trauma or injury. Some conditions, including heart attacks, appendicitis, and gunshot wounds, can be life threatening. Others, such as broken bones, are less serious but still require immediate attention.

What Should I Expect When Working as an Emergency Nurse?

Emergency nurses work under the supervision of doctors in an urgent care setting to provide patients with care who are suffering from a wide range of injuries or illnesses. Some of the duties they are responsible for include assessing the patient's vital signs, assisting with a diagnosis, tending to injuries and wounds, monitoring blood pressure and body temperature, and setting up intravenous infusion (IVs). Emergency nurses also help to calm patients and their families in the midst of a traumatic situation. Most of the certified emergency nurses work in hospital settings, but others also work in a variety of other locations. These locations include prisons, cruise ships, sporting events, ambulances, helicopters, poison control departments, government offices and urgent care facilities.

When working as an emergency nurse, one should be prepared for almost anything. Many patients in emergency situations are likely to be fearful, anxious, or worried as they might not know the severity of the situation or not know what to expect. Emergency nurses must be especially skilled at managing stress and working well under pressure.

What are the Education and Certification Requirements for Emergency Nursing?

In order to become an emergency nurse, one must first become a registered nurse, which requires completion of an accredited registered nursing program. Once an individual has earned a diploma, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree in nursing, he or she must pass the NCLEX-RN and apply for a license.

Though additional certification is not necessary to work in most urgent care settings, options are available. After a minimum of 2 years of emergency nursing experience, one can become certified through the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). The BCEN offers four different certifications for emergency nurses: Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN), Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN), Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN), and Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN).

There is also an emergency certification option for Nurse Practitioners, who have earned either a master's or doctoral level degree. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers an Emergency Nurse Practitioner certification. In addition to any other eligibility requirements, nurse practitioners must have worked as a nurse practitioner full time for at least the past 2 years, have had at least 2,000 hours of advanced practice experience working with emergency care in the last 3 years, and have completed at least 30 hours of emergency care continuing education in the past 3 years in order to take the certification exam.

What is the Average Salary for an Emergency Nurse?

According to the Indeed.com, the average salary for an emergency nurse is $64,000. The salaries for emergency nurses are likely to vary depending on each individual's education and experience level, as well as the employer and the area in which one resides. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics report states that the job outlook for registered nurses is positive, with 26% expected job growth between 2010 and 2020.

One way in which to increase one's salary potential is to earn an advanced degree and become certified in an advanced practice specialty.

  • Registered Nurses: This links to the official entry in the Occupational Outlook Handbook set up by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the United States Department of Labor. On this site, you will find a wide range of information on the registered nursing career as a whole. This information ranges from a career overview to the various specialization options, educational requirements and wage information.
  • American Nurses Association: This is the official site to the American Nurses Association. This is the United States’ largest organization for nurses.
  • Emergency Nurses Association: This is the official homepage for the Emergency Nurses Association. This is the organization that is responsible for providing you with certification to become a certified emergency nurse.
  • Society of Academic Emergency Medicine: The Society of Academic Emergency Medicine is a society, or organization, that is dedicated to providing nurses and students with information and education to improve the care that is provided to the acutely ill and patients who are injured.
  • Society of Trauma Nurses: This links to the official site for the Society of Trauma Nurses. This society is the only organization of its kind to span the continuum of trauma care at an international level. On this site, you will find information on upcoming and past events, educational information and an option to join the Society of Trauma Nurses as a member.
  • Emergency Nurse Magazine: This links to the official site of the Emergency Nurse Magazine. This site allows you to stay up to do with a variety of information within the emergency subfield of the nursing industry. You also have access to courses and educational resources, upcoming and past events, guides, reviews and news and opinions.
  • Journal of Emergency Nursing: This links to the Journal of Emergency Nursing. This site provides you with the opportunity to subscribe to the journal so you can stay up to day with the various happenings within this nursing subfield.
  • Nursing a Shortage: This links to an article that explains what it is like to live a day in the life of an emergency room nurse. This article gives you an idea of what you can expect from one day to the next once you enter into the nursing industry as an emergency nurse.
  • Emergency Department Nursing Certificate: This links to the certificate program for emergency department nursing that is provided by the University of California in San Diego. This site provides you with information so you have an idea of what to expect when obtaining your education.