Inside Emergency Room Nurse Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Wide Variety Of Jobs...
I find people would be surprised at the different scope of jobs and opportunities that nursing makes available to them. You can literally work in an office all day or on a helicopter all day. The choices are nearly endless." (ER Nurse; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied Bachelor Of Science In Nursing at Southeastern Louisiana University in Louisiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"As A Nurse, I Didn't Expect To Interact So Closely With Doctors...
I was surprised about the people I would meet. I never expected that I would work so closely with others and make so many new lifelong friends." (Nurse; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, male
School: Studied Biomedical Engineering at Georgetown University in District of Columbia; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"What shocked me the most was the true back-stabbing that goes on with nurses. I see it primarily with ER and ICU nurses. I have worked in many trauma units, and ER nurses and ICU nurses just do not like each other. It also surprises me how much ER doctors depend on and trust the ER nurses. I literally have run many codes before, even with the ER doc standing right there. It is a good feeling to know they think of us as colleagues and professionals." (ER/Trauma Nursing, Certified Emergency Nurse; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied Nursing at Rivier College in New Hampshire; completed Bachelor degree in 2001

"I was surprised how much autonomy nurses have in their work. It was amazing in both good and bad ways how much we are expected to make our own decisions, not just follow doctors' orders or hospital protocols." (ER Nurse; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Nursing at Lawrence Memorial/Regis College School Of Nursing in Massachusetts; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Work Conditions Are Extremely Difficult To Get Used To...
Most people are surprised by the fast pace work style that comes along with working in an emergency room.. All the blood and wounds is always the most surprising thing about this career. Yes, you do know there will be blood and wounds but experiencing it is totally different." (Nurse; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Nursing at University Of Georgia in Georgia; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Am I The Only One That Cares...
I was surprised at the tremendous level of stress. also, the lack of gratitude and poor management. It seems that most of the time no one cares. I seem to be the only one that cares." (ER Nurse; 2013)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Nursing at Ucla in California in 2002

"Never A Dull Moment...
I was surprised to discover just how each day, as a nurse, is unique in its own way. No two shifts are alike, and run the gamut from full-on hectic, to pretty easy going." (ER Nurse; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Nursing at Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Nursing Is Not Just A "Calling"...
I think people would be surprised to find that a lot of older (as in not just out of high school) people are changing careers and going into the nursing profession. Some go into it because they think of it as a "calling" and its something they always wanted to do. However, many people are going into nursing because they realize it is actually now a very well paid job, and its a career path where you know you will always have a job!" (RN, ER Nurse; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied RN at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College in Virginia; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Flexibility Of Opportunities...
I was surprised at the absolute flexibility in positions that I was qualified for. That particularly applies to my 26 years with the US Army Nurse Corps in which I performed as a team leader, Task Force Surgeon, Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense Officer, Medical Operations Officer, Hospital Operations Officer, Regional Chief of Quality Assurance, Deputy Director of the Health Services Personnel Directorate, Nurse Liaison, HQ, Us Army Recruiting Command and Medical Group Chief Nurse" (ER Nurse; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, male
School: Studied Nursing at Einstein Medical Center School Of Nursing in Pennsylvania; completed Diploma degree in 1972

Career Background

Emergency Room Nurse

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Make A Lot Of Friends And Learn All You Can...
If you want to be successful always network to look for new opportunities. Never be afraid to ask a question if you don't understand something." (Nurse; 2014)

"Assumption Of Risk And Team Building Mean Quality Patient Care...
I recommend that you always take the hardest jobs with the greatest career risk which will absolutely advance your career when you accomplish the jobs successfully. I would also recommend that you understand that anyone, regardless of reputation or poor evaluations, can be a part of your team given appropriate leadership. I have found that their integration into a team which functions as such makes them want to shine and they generally will." (ER Nurse; 2013)

"Fast Paced Environment...
Be prepared to see a lot of blood and wounds. It is a fast paced environment so it requires a lot of quick hard work." (Nurse; 2013)

"Study Long And Hard...
As you go through school study twice as much outside of class as you sit in the class. The curriculum will not be easy but if is manageable." (ER Nurse; 2013)

"Be Aware Of What You Will Encounter...
Give some time to self reflection and know what you are getting into, perhaps by volunteering at a hospital so you know what really goes on. The real world is not "House MD" or "ER" or any other glamorized version of the medical field. While it is always interesting and ever changing, it is also hard and sometimes unpleasant work, so make sure you can handle certain aspects of the job." (RN, ER Nurse; 2013)

"Complete Co-Requisite Courses Before Nursing Classes...
There are many co-requisite classes that I highly recommend you take before entering an actual nursing program. Get those done and complete so you're less swamped while taking the core nursing classes!" (ER Nurse; 2013)

"Explore Multiple Specialties...
Interview at least three different nurses that have different specialties. This way you'll know what kind of nursing will make you most happy." (ER Nurse; 2013)

"Get Healthcare Experience Of Any Kind...
Work in a healthcare field before or while you're in nursing school. Being a CNA, a phlebotomist, or even a hospital secretary gives you a wealth of real-world experience that clinical can never replicate. It also makes your resume much stronger." (ER Nurse; 2013)

"Leverage Free Ed Opportunities...
Take advantage of EVERY opportunity for free, continuing education given by your hospital or employer. I have not paid for any continuing education yet, yet have gotten many certifications in my field. Do not pass up any opportunity to learn, and don't be afraid to say you don't know how to do something. No one was born with the initials "R.N." behind their name. We all started out not knowing anything." (ER/Trauma Nursing, Certified Emergency Nurse; 2013)