The role of an emergency room nurse can be demanding and may require a nurse to use many different nursing skills at certain times to take care of a variety of patients. The main role is the nurse must be skilled in client assessment, priority setting, critical thinking, multitasking, and communication. The nurse must be knowledgeable and able to make some decisions independently. The nurse also needs to be able to prioritize so the pts who are at highest risk of major injury or complications are treated first. In a busy ER, time management is important too because there may be a lot of pts waiting for care. The nurse must be mentally prepared for rapid change and be able to keep calm in hectic situations. The ER nurse must be able work well in a team and be able to interact with all levels of ER professionals in order to give the pt the best possible care. ER nurses also need to be flexible and adapt quickly to rapidly changing situations. Nurses usually choose to work in the emergency area because they dislike routines and thrive in challenging, stimulating work environments. In one situation I observed, a male came in with chest pain. The nurse went to get him from the waiting area right away and hooked him up with the heart monitor and got him ready for an EKG. The nurse stayed calm, and gathered the information from the pt next. She had her own system for what she normally does depending on the level of the pt’s injury. Another key role is teaching. The ER nurse needs to make sure the pt knows what to do after discharge and/or when they may need to return to the ER for further testing or treatment.
There are some similarities and differences in the roles and responsibilities between emergency care nurses and other general staff nurses. The scope of practice for ER nurses includes managing pts across the lifespan; from birth to death. Other general nurses usually pick their area of work, so they mainly