Emergency room nurses spend their entire time providing critical care to patients in the emergency rooms. Even the slightest of the mistakes can lead to heavy consequences which is why they are required to stay highly cautious at all times. While having a deep knowledge about the various treatment procedures in the emergency rooms, it is also important for the emergency room nurses to have a quick wit and a strong stomach so as to offer their services without flinching.
They work closely with their healthcare team comprising of emergency technicians, physicians, and other nurses. While the main emergency nursing role is to offer assistance to the doctors and technicians, the Emergency Room nurse practitioner may also perform some minor operations all by themselves. Other common ER Nurse Duties include providing care to the patients, monitor their health conditions on a frequent basis, administer medications and IV fluids to the patients, maintain a record of the vital signs of the patients, use medical equipment and come up with long-term care plans for the patients. The emergency nurses are also responsible for communicating to the guardians or family members of the patients and educating them about the medical condition of the patients and the type of care required after the hospital stay.
The patients admitted to the emergency wards are often in critical states and require immediate treatment. Cases include high impact accidents, fatal allergic reactions and any other issue that requires urgent care. Therefore, the emergency room nurses are required to make quick and effective decisions and work towards stabilizing the health of the patients. They have a full involvement in the treatment procedure right from the moment the patients are brought to the point where they are discharged.
Emergency nurses are often involved in the treatment of patients with life-threatening illnesses. Hence, they should be adept at making quick and accurate assessments of the medical condition of the patient and offer immediate treatment. More than often, they spend their time working in a fast-paced and high-stress environment. Since they are dealing with sensitive cases a majority of the times, the emergency nurses are required to have advanced education and state-approved licenses to be practicing in their field. Furthermore, they are required to have enough knowledge and expertise to deal with a wide range of cases in the emergency department. They should have deep knowledge about not only the general but also the specific health issues.
Emergency nurses find employment in a variety of settings. These include hospitals, independent emergency departments, crisis intervention centers, cruise ships, prisons, and more. Nurses who have received highly specialized training can also take up the role of transport nurses, who offer emergency treatments to the patients by getting transported by helicopters or planes.
ER Nurse Duties And Responsibilities
1. Administrative Duties And Responsibilities
The emergency nurses are required to offer assistance with the coordination of patients. They decide which patients require the most urgent attention and which patients can be kept waiting while the other is being treated. They document each and every treatment procedure administered to the patients and record their medical status for the entire period till they get discharged. They may also keep accurate records about the entire medical history of the patient, track their current health and report progresses or anything unusual to the physicians.
2. Patient Assessment
When the patients are brought into the emergency wards, the nurses make quick assessments, evaluate the severity and decide upon the most appropriate treatment. Thorough assessments are carried out when the patients are brought into the emergency rooms. They take vital measurements of the patient, ask questions and collect other relevant data before handing them off to the physician. This process is to be completed as quickly as possible, after which the patients are rushed to the doctors for urgent medical attention.
3. Stabilizing The Patients
The patents brought in to the emergency wards are in a highly critical state. Sometimes, they may even be unconscious and unable to communicate. In this scenario, the emergency nurses together with other professionals in the healthcare team act promptly to stabilize the health of the patients. During such times, little information can be gathered from the patient. Therefore, the emergency nurses are required to tread carefully and work closely with the physicians.
After the health of the patients has been normalized, it is the duty of the emergency to ensure that they remain in a stable state. They develop optimal care plans to ensure a speedy recovery. They also take charge of administering medications to the patients and reading and recording the vital statistics on a frequent basis. They ensure that all the medical equipment used by the patient are working properly, see if any of the medications are causing any reaction and report anything unusual to the doctors.
4. Administration Of Medications
The ER nurses take responsibility for the timely administration of medications, injections, cleaning, and dressing of wounds and keeping a track of the effects of different medications on the patient.
How To Become An ER Nurse?
The emergency room nurses are registered nurses who have been given specialized training to offer their services in the emergency rooms. The minimum qualification to work as an ER nurse is an associate degree, a BSN degree or a nursing diploma from nursing schools. After the completion of the undergraduate courses, they are required to clear the NCLEX –RN and receive certification as registered nurses. Interested candidates can also opt for higher education for better job opportunities and career advancements. Even if the nurses have not opted for a higher degree, it is important for the emergency nurses to stay continually updated about the new procedures inpatient treatment.
Qualities Of A Good ER Nurse
ER nurses are required to work in a fast-paced and high-stress environment. Without some core traits such as decisiveness, confidence and quick thinking abilities, the working conditions can quickly turn overpowering for the nurses. They should be highly knowledgeable in their field and also be able to make effective communication with other members working together with them.
1. Critical Thinking : The emergency room nurses should be able to quickly and correctly analyze the health care needs of the patients and come to a favorable solution
2. Compassion : Cases brought to the emergency rooms often involve people who are facing great tragedies and pain. Therefore, it is the duty of the emergency room nurses to work with compassion and patience.
3. Detailed Attention : Even the slightest of mistakes in the emergency rooms can come with a heavy price. Therefore, the nurses should pay attention to detail.
4. Organizational : Without good organizational Skills, it can become very difficult to offer optimal care to the patients.
5. Calmness : The emergency room nurses should remain calm in order to function efficiently even in the heated environments
6. Communication Skills : The emergency room nurses should have excellent communication Skills. It can be helpful if they can communicate in more than one language.
Emergency Room Nurse Salary
It is estimated that the average annual emergency nurse salary is $62,319. This is according to a survey carried by a team of Certified Compensation Professionals who collected information from thousands of industries of all sizes, all across the United States with employment for nurses bearing the title of emergency room nurses. The survey was completed quite recently and the report released on the 27 Jan, 2018. The salary can also vary between $47,176 and $93,825 depending on various factors that can have both a direct and an indirect influence on the overall pay scale. 3
What Is The Average ER Nurse Salary On An Hourly Basis?
The same survey that released the above figures also calculated the average hourly salaries for the ER nurses. The estimated hourly pay is $29.96. Furthermore, the hourly salary can vary between $22.75 to $43.13 depending on factors such as geographical location, employer, type of industry, experience, education, state laws and more. 2 The salary figures were provided by both the employers as well as the employees. Although the data was collected from more than a thousand points, it should be noted that certain factors such as short-term economic fluctuations, a shortage / surplus of nurses, etc. were not taken into consideration. Since these aspects can keep on changing frequently, the figures released in different survey reports may vary by slight degrees.
Salary By Experience
The amount of experience can have a huge impact on the wages of the emergency room nurses. The nurses who are in the starting phase of their career and have not completed their 5th year of service are likely to have the average annual compensation of about $57,310. Compensation here means the basic salary, plus the extra amounts received through bonuses, tips, overtime payments and profit sharing. Since these can make a huge difference to the total earning made in a year, it is necessary to consider the compensation while assessing the total pay for emergency room nurses. However, not all nurses have a claim over the profit sharing. This benefit is mostly enjoyed by only the nurses who are in the late phase of their career.
The emergency room nurses who have been working for 5 to 10 years may expect average compensations of about $72,462 per year. Basically, the higher the skill level, the higher the salary. The substantially skilled nurses in the mid-phase of their career or those who have been serving for around 10 to 20 years can expect to have total average compensations of about $73,000 per year, while the nurses who are almost in the retirement phase and have been serving for more than 20 years have substantial compensations which can go as high as $107,000. 1
Salary For The Entry Level
The nurses who have just entered into the profession have an average hourly salary of about $26.89. Even the starting salary is bound to vary considerably from one state to the other. The two main contributing factors include the city of employment and the firm the nurses are working with. The latter tend to have more influence on the overall earnings. Sometimes, emergency nurses with low salary rates may also receive hidden monetary benefits in the form of dental coverage, vision coverage, health insurances and so on. As revealed through the questionnaire conducted by the entry-level emergency nurses, they tend to have a high level of job satisfaction. 4
Salary By Employer
HCA Inc, Kaiser Permanente, St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Baylor Hospital and Tenet Healthcare Corporation are some of the most prominent health care firms offering employment to a large number of emergency room nurses each year. These firms tend to be the major areas of interest for the candidates looking for employment. They also have a health pay rate. Of all these firms, Kaiser Permanente offers the highest salaries to their emergency room nurses. The average compensation per year can be around $90,000. However, there can be a significant gap in the pay scales depending on the location, education, amount of responsibilities and so on. The salaries can range between $53,000 and $147,000.
Apart from Kaiser Permanente, other firms with a large employee base and hefty salaries include St. Luke’s Hospital Dignity Health and Providence Hospital with paychecks of $70,000, $89,000 and $69,000 each. The firms at the other end of the spectrum include Baptist Hospital, Memorial Hospital and the Mercy Hospital with average annual earnings of $51,000, $49,000 and $48,000 respectively, which are much below the standard average. 5
ER Nurse Salary By State
Highest ER Nurse Salary Paying States:
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The emergency room nurse salaries can vary considerably from one location to the other. The highest paying location in Los Angeles is California, where nurses are paid much higher than the baseline pay. Other highest paying locations include San Diego, New York, Houston and Dallas with annual salaries 34%, 26%, 17% and 5% above the average respectively. The lowest paying areas include Nashville, St. Louis where the emergency nurses earn 14%and 19% below the average respectively.