Travel Nursing Experiences in the ER
By Andrya Feinberg, contributor
When people hear ‘ER’, they think of the worst--an emergency, a critical illness, or a serious injury. A flood of emotions, including panic, anxiety, stress, and fear fill the minds of the patients and their loved ones. Onward Healthcare’s ER travel nurses are on the frontlines of the emergency room, providing preliminary assessment of patients, prioritizing their emergencies and supporting families in distress.
In the ER, there’s never a dull moment, and you never know what to expect. It’s the most unpredictable, interesting department in a medical facility, where travel nurses play a vital role in maintaining order in an environment of ‘pure insanity’.
Since the ER is open 24/7, 365 days a year, medical staff never know what emergency will come through that door. It is unlike any other unit or place in the hospital, and travel nurses must be prepared to deal with a steady stream of people at any given time. At times, the waiting room can be full with no extra room in the ICU. At other times, the Operating Room may not be ready, and there could be multiple traumas happening at once.
Related: Inside the Mind of a Labor & Delivery Nurse
It takes a special kind of person to work in the E.R., but for those who do, the challenges that get their blood pumping are often the most rewarding. Top E.R. travel nurses are able to keep their composure in a chaotic environment, made lifesaving decisions in a split second, and pivot quickly to manage the ever-changing situations being thrown their way.
In the blog, Madness: Tales of an Emergency Room Nurse, real-life nurses talk about their experiences in the E.R. Once you read their stories, you’ll know that emergency rooms you see on T.V. don’t come close to representing real life in the E.R.
Travel nursing life in the E.R.
• “You can be dealing with a stubbed toe and in rushes someone with a gunshot wound or in cardiac arrest. We live our lives on the edge.”
• “We deal with everyone from A to Z. We work in a chaotic environment of ringing alarms, yelling patients, ringing phones, overhead paging, and critical patients.”
• “My job in the everyday world of the ER is dealing with abdominal pains, back pains, chest pains, mental health, and everything else you can think of.”
• “When you choose to take a job in the ER, you are the kind of person who thrives on chaos and crisis. It exposes you to most things people don’t understand and see. It changes your view of the people and the world. It gives you a perspective on your own life.”
• “In the ER, you will work with people who are hilarious, smart, dedicated, and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They keep you coming back!”
• “ER nurses are just a different breed. One minute, you may be treating a child with an earache, and the next minute, you’re running trauma protocol for a person involved in a motor vehicle accident.”
• “I never realized how exciting and challenging ER nursing was! At any given time, an ER nurse may have an assignment that consists of a critically ill patient on vasopressors, a toothache, an acute MI getting prepped for the cardiac cath lab, and a psychiatric patient that went off their medications. I have a better appreciation for those that work in the ER.”
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• “The ER is such a rewarding environment! I became so fond of working with such comrades, that I eventually returned years later as a full time staff nurse. The eagerness was in part to the large need of experienced nurses that could use critical thinking skills, and also fine tune assessment skills to treat a diverse group of patient populations. It was nice to belong to such a unique team of caregivers. The ER is a demanding and fast paced environment, but the rewards of the hard work are fulfilling. Nothing feels better than saving lives and being the voice of comfort in the midst of chaos.”
• “ER nursing requires skills that allow one to remain cool, calm, and have a strong backbone. ER nurses triage, assess, treat, educate and discharge patients from across the life span and all age groups. Because of the increasing amounts of responsibilities placed on the emergency room physicians, ER nurses are required to act as the “eyes and ears” for the doctors. ER nurses collect the primary and secondary assessments and report to the physician. It’s never boring, and it helps you keep things in perspective and have a humble heart.”
• “I love being in a team environment and developing great working relationships with the ER doctors. It is never boring, and there is a feeling of pride to be able to do this kind of work. I have learned so many new skills, and I am always busy.”
• “It can get a bit crazy in the ER. Sometimes, there are many people in the waiting room or there is no room in the ICU. I have been an ER travel nurse for 10 years now and wouldn’t change it for the world. If you’re thinking of becoming an ER nurse, you need to have excellent critical thinking skills, a great ability to prioritize, good communication skills, and the ability to multi-task.”
Do you want to be on the frontlines in critical care situations, devoted to patient care and providing compassion to those most vulnerable? Can you be the voice of comfort in the midst of chaos? Join Onward Healthcare, and gain the skills to advance your career when you start your new travel nursing job today!
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