The Pros and Cons of ER Nursing

by Howard Gerber on September 12, 2013

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ER Nursing One of the most exciting specialty areas of nursing to go into is emergency room nursing. If you are an adrenaline junkie and thrive on a fast paced working environment, you may already know ER nursing is for you. But working as a nurse in the emergency room is not like it looks like on television. If you are considering becoming an ER nurse there are several things to consider, such as working conditions, what types of patients you will see and the pros and cons.

What Types of Patients Do You Treat?

The type of patients you see in the ER will vary depending on the size of the ER, city you live in, and even by the time of year. For instance, if you work in a large emergency room, you are likely to see a little of everything, including patients with injuries from car accidents, assaults, and drug overdoses.

Regardless of where you are working, you will most likely treat patients who have cardiac and respiratory emergencies, infectious diseases and stroke patients. You will also encounter patients with injuries, such as fractures, dislocations and cuts.

Keep in mind, not all patients who come to the emergency room are having a true medical emergency. Some patients come for flu symptoms, psychological issues, and other non-life-threatening problems.

Advantages of ER Nursing

There are several things you may like about working in the emergency room including the following:

  • Great Experience: Since you will see all types of injuries and illnesses, working in the ER provides great experience. Even if you eventually go into another area of nursing your ER experience will be a great benefit.
  • Variety:  No two days are the same, which helps prevent boredom and keeps the job interesting.
  • Rewarding: It is very rewarding to play a part in helping someone who is in a life threatening situation. What better way to help then during a medical emergency.
  • Team Work: Treating patients in the ER is a team effort. You will work closely with other professionals including doctors, technicians, respiratory therapists and social workers.

Disadvantages of ER Nursing

Just as there are some positive aspects about working as an emergency room nurse, there are things some people may consider negatives. Consider some of the cons listed below.

  • High Stress: Patient care can be stressful in any area of nursing, but in the ER it can be a matter of life and death. Dealing with critically ill patients can be an interesting challenge, but also can cause stress.
  • Emotionally Tough Cases: In the ER, you may see all types of situations including child or elder abuse. You will see victims of violent crimes and tragic accidents. If you are going into ER nursing, you will need to learn how to deal with these types of situations and leave work behind.
  • Fast Paced Environment: Although some people may consider working in a fast paced environment a positive, others may view it as a negative. You will need to handle multiple patients and their individual demands.
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