What are the Responsibilities of ER Nurses?

As anyone who has ever watched the want ads knows, nursing is not only one of the most in-demand professions in the world today, but it is also one of the most demanding. And there are probably few areas of the nursing field where those demands are more obvious than in the emergency room.

Inside the ER

By its very nature, the emergency room of a hospital or clinic is unlike any other. The emergency room of a hospital is one of the only units of a hospital that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Making the jobs in the emergency room even more difficult is the prerequisite that most patients admitted there are suffering from some kind of serious life-threatening condition such as a heart attack, gunshot wounds, and others. Nearly everything that takes place in the emergency room is a matter of life and death. As a result, the work can often be very intense, and emergency room nurses work in a state of almost perpetual overdrive. They often work 10 to 12 hours a day, any shift, up to four days each week, or more. This includes weekends and holidays. Fortunately, with all of these demands, emergency room nurses are among some of the highest paid nurses in a hospital or other less demanding settings. http://insideout.wbur.org/documentaries/nursingshortage/nightnurse.asp

Unlike TV

Probably one of the worst ways to see what an emergency room’s nursing staff spends their days doing is to watch television, especially with regards to certain medical programs. Unlike these programs, the work that emergency room nurses do is not compartmentalized neatly in one-hour segments. Further, the work is often either highly intense or deadly dull.

First in the Fight

Emergency room nurses are among the very first who see a patient after they are brought to the unit. They usually make an initial assessment of the patient or patients and their conditions, receiving the preliminary information from the paramedics or others who brought the patient to them for care. If there have been multiple patients brought to the emergency room simultaneously, the nurses usually perform what is called triage, or the ranking of patients to determine which should be seen first due to the seriousness of their injuries or illness. From this point, emergency room nurses often assign patients to a treatment area and begin the care process. http://work.chron.com/rns-role-er-6857.html

Emergency Room Nurses as Assistants

After a physician begin their work, emergency room nurses assist them in their job, such as providing them with their tools as they treat the patient. Unfortunately, as is the case with many patients, emergency rooms receive patients who are hurting and sometimes suffering from the effects of all sorts of situations, such as an alcohol or drug high, at which time they are often violent and uncooperative. This is often the case when patients with mental health problems are admitted to the emergency room. And although it is true that nurses have been campaigning actively for tougher laws against those who physically or sexually assault them in the course of their duties, the cases of these types of incidents have been rising dramatically over the past few years.

It goes without saying that the work of emergency room nurses is fast paced and intense, but for those who thrive on a challenge and enjoy the benefits and rewards, there are plenty available.