Purpose and Mission
Emergency room (ER) nurses are employed in critical care emergency facilities, and help doctors and emergency medical technicians to take care of people in urgent or life-threatening situations. The specialty is closely related to acute care, ICU or critical care nursing.
In fact, ER nurses are essential members of the team of doctors and other healthcare professionals that provide care, monitor health conditions, plan the care needs, administer medications, use medical equipment, perform procedures, and advise patients and their families on illnesses and continued care after visit to a hospital.
Remember that emergency rooms are where people come when they have accidents, allergic reactions, or other urgent medical care needs. ER nurses rapidly assess the needs of each patient, prioritize care as required, and stabilize a patient. They also help doctors and other professionals take care of the problem, help with discharging a patient or assist in making arrangements for a longer hospital stay.
Emergency room nurses usually work at large hospitals or clinics, universities, or teaching hospitals. If they are employed at a public or private healthcare facility, ER nurses probably report to an emergency nursing supervisor, the chief of nursing or the head of the ER.
Senior ER nurses may have some supervisory responsibilities, including training and evaluating other nurses, but most emergency nurses are more focused on patient care responsibilities than supervising others.
Those who wish to specialize in emergency or critical care nursing are almost always experienced registered nurses (typically holding a bachelor’s degree) who have additional training in acute care. Some ER nurses have earned formal certifications attesting to their training.
Note that all RNs must have a current Nursing Registration with the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Agency) to practice.
Responsibilities of an ER Nurse
Emergency nurses must understand triage (how to prioritize injuries based on medical need). Furthermore, a critical care nurse must be able to make quick and accurate assessments regarding patients, including physical and mental health status.
Time management is very important. ER nurses must be able to:
Emergency room nurses also have to move patients, make blood samples, clean and dress wounds, give medications and maintain proper supplies including medical equipment.
Of note, ER nurses must also comply with all required protocols, procedures and safety policies at their place of employment.