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What are Emergency Room Nurses and What Do They Do?

What is an emergency room nurse?

An emergency room (ER) or trauma nurse, as the names suggest, provides patient care in the case of emergency medical situations along with doctors and paramedics. These emergency medical situations can be of many different kinds, including heart attacks, strokes, sudden high fevers, broken bones, poisoning, drug overdose, car accidents, and stab and gunshot wounds. The patient demographics can also vary a fair bit, with the nurse called on to treat a child and an elderly patient in quick succession.

What do ER nurses do?

ER nurses need to respond quickly in case of medical emergencies. They need to stabilize patients, minimize their pain, diagnose their medical problems, and treat life-threatening issues. This makes it important that ER nurses be experts at a number of critical procedures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), tracheotomy, intubation, and defibrillation.

Once they have stabilized the patient, ER nurses are required to quickly assess the main medical problems faced by the patient and work towards solving them. This means they also need to be knowledgeable about diagnostic tests and procedures like X-rays and electrocardiograms.

There are several different settings where ER nurses can be working, including emergency rooms in hospitals, triage centers, urgent care centers, trauma centers, prisons, and with different branches of the military and with emergency response units.

What personal qualities and characteristics make a good ER nurse?

Quick assessment. ER nurses are often the first health professionals that a person in an emergency medical situation encounters. This makes it important for the nurse to read the patient’s vital signs before conditions worsen as this could mean the difference between recovery and a fatality.

Decision-making. The quick assessment of a patient’s condition is coupled with the ability to decide on the most appropriate procedures for stabilization, pain reduction, and treatment, especially when a doctor is not at hand.

Emotional stability. The mortality rate among emergency care patients is naturally higher than many other categories of patients. ER nurses should be able to deal with losing their patients in a quick and healthy manner.

Physical stamina. Since emergencies can occur at any time of the day, ER nurses need to be able to provide the best possible care whenever they are called upon to do so. The procedures can also last for long hours, which requires these nurses to be attentive and not lose their energy.