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Happy National Emergency Room Nurse’s Day with JAANUU Scrubs!
I have been an emergency room nurse for almost 10 years, and I never knew that “our day” is the second Wednesday of October. I still learn something new every day, both inside, and outside of work! If you are thinking about becoming an ER nurse, I am offering some insight as to why I went into the emergency room, what I have learned so far.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase. As always, these opinions are my own, and I support products that I love.
What does it look like to be an Emergency Room Nurse?
I thought it would be proper to start with the fun, rewarding part of being an ER nurse; I’ll do a post on the more difficult parts of being an emergency room nurse next time. This department isn’t for everyone. Let’s start with the pros:
You see miracles
Yes, this would be my favorite part of being an ER nurse. There have been many times when a patient came in, looking to have a very poor prognosis, only to find out later that we saved their life. I will never forget one of my patient’s who was found down for an unknown amount of time in the field. This patient came in looking like they wouldn’t make it very long in the ICU after we stabilized them. About a week later when I was transporting to the ICU; I saw that patient walking, talking, eating…..and I cried right there on the floor. I cried when I got home. I ate some ice cream. Then I felt incredibly proud to be an ER nurse.
You are able to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
You are with people at their worst moments. People don’t usually “plan” on coming into the emergency department. Many times, we aren’t only the nurse to the patient, but we are also to “nurse” to the family members. You encounter complex situations with patients, and their family members, and friends. They automatically trust you (most of them anyway), and put their life in your hands. I’ve had the opportunity to pray with family members, after asking if that is what they desired, as their loved one peacefully passed away in front of us (their wish was a “do not resuscitate”).
I use my skills everyday I work.
Most ER nurses are very proficient at starting intravenous lines, because we do it multiple times a day, every shift. You also have to be proficient at many other skills such as inserting foley catheter’s, wound care, inserting NG tubes, chest tubes, administering a variety of medications including TPA, dopamine, propofol, insulin, and soooooooooooo many more.
We learn something every shift (or close to every shift), and need to be adaptable to change.
No matter how long you have been any kind of nurse, there is usually lots of change in this dynamic field. With ACLS, PALS, BLS, Stroke and Stemi, and trauma guidelines improving, we are expected to learn the most recent recommendations as they role out. Also, policies and procedures change all the time about various scopes of our practice.
You have the opportunity to have a great team
One of the most important things I have learned from being an emergency room nurse, is that you can’t do it by yourself. When we get a code blue, or adult in a life threatening condition, a team is assembled, and everyone has a job. This feeling of camaraderie, and teamwork makes me feel more bonded to my coworkers. I understand that not every department is the same. If you are in a department that doesn’t function as a team; I encourage you to look elsewhere, because it’s really hard to do this job without the help of others.
Suggestions for New Nurses in the Emergency Department
As I said in this blog post I did for JAANUU scrubs. “First, congrats on not having to write care plans again! Woohoo! If you are thinking about working in the ER, go for it! Work hard. Be humble. Care for your patients, empathize with them. Take constructive criticism. Ask questions. Admit to Mistakes, learn from mistakes, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t let anyone or anything take away your joy. If you can do these things, you will be a great nurse.”
If you want to know what a real day in the life of an emergency room nurse is like, read this post that sums it up pretty well.
*My sister and I….she is also an ER nurse 😉
For those of you wanting to purchase some JAANUU scrubs, my discount code is MOCHIBA25
Have any specific questions? Leave them below and I will try to answer them in a future post. I will also post some of the more difficult parts of being an ER nurse at some point.
As always, thanks for stopping by!