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Trauma Nursing

Trauma nursing is also called emergency nursing. As students will learn in nursing programs, trauma nursing is a nursing career where nurses care for and look after patients in the emergency or the critical phase stage of their injury or their illness.

What is Trauma Nursing?

Trauma nursing is also called emergency nursing. Trauma nurses care for patients at a stage when their medical conditions or the seriousness of their conditions might be unknown. These nurses care for patients of all ages with a broad range 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.

Most commonly, trauma 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.

Trauma 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 temperature, and setting up intravenous infusion (IVs). These 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 trauma 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 what to expect. These 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. This 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). The Emergency Nurses Association offers a 16 hour Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) that is recommended for those wishing to pursue trauma nursing.

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, NPs 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, 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 US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for registered nurses as of 2012 was $65,470. 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. This same report states that the job outlook for registered nurses is positive, with 19% expected job growth between 2012 and 2022.

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

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