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ER professionals often face different types of patients needing assistance. These patients can include toddlers with a broken arm or a senior experiencing myocardial infarction. It can be tough to decide which patients should receive treatment first, especially if the emergency room is full.

Emergency room nursing is a sub-specialty where registered nurses and medical aides/staff treat patients with medical conditions requiring immediate attention. It is a high-risk and fast-paced work environment. Hence, many people fear the ER because it can be pretty intimidating for first-timers in medical professional life. But working in such a department can be rewarding and exciting too. All you need is to know what to expect, be it the patients, the team, or the working environment. If you appreciate the rush of working in such a dynamic healthcare environment, pay heed to these tips to make the most of the work.

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Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Update Your Certifications

It would be best to familiarize yourself with basic life support skills when working in the ER. Knowing these life-saving tactics is helpful when patients come in with breathing and heart problems.

There are also courses that you can take to specialize in particular fields. You can take a nursing course on pediatric or critical care nursing and gain advanced knowledge of the most common diseases and conditions that affect patients in the emergency department.

You can earn your ACLS certification and learn advanced life support knowledge. The course can be completed in a small amount of time, allowing you up to eight hours of CEU/CME credit.

Front Desk Receptionist Is a Critical Link to the Department

In an emergency room, there will always be patients who need help at any time of the day. A front desk receptionist usually registers a patient when they come in through the door. Hence, it is crucial to treat this person with courtesy and respect. The front desk receptionist is also the first person a patient will encounter in the department, thus creating a lasting impression of the hospital. The front desk receptionist needs to be friendly and patient, especially when dealing with complex patients or family members.

Know the Roles and Responsibilities Of Everyone In The Department

The doctors are responsible for diagnosing the patient’s condition and deciding what course of treatment they should undergo.

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The nurses are also responsible for administering treatment and monitoring the patient’s condition. Nurses are also in charge of delegating tasks to other nurses when needed, such as checking on the patient’s condition or documenting the patient’s information. If you are unsure about what you should do in a particular situation, seek other nurses or doctors. 

Always Remain Calm

There are various kinds of patients in an emergency room, and not everyone reacts the same way. Some may get irritated quickly, while some remain calm despite their condition. It is essential to stay calm even when dealing with patients refusing to cooperate. Losing your temper will never help the situation. Plus, you can put yourself and other patients in danger. If you feel that you are losing your patience, take a step back and think of other things for a while.

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There Are No Regular Hours In The ER

ER routines are always unpredictable. There are times when it gets so busy that you need to work overtime, even on your scheduled days off. Other days may be slow and monotonous. Tiredness will never make the day drag, especially when helping people in need. Nevertheless, it is essential to be flexible and open to changes that may come your way. The job itself is rewarding, even if you work double shifts or off days.

Remember: Every Patient Is Unique

Most people who visit an emergency room have common injuries and illnesses, such as colds, flu, and cuts. However, it is essential to treat every patient according to their condition. The approach should always be thorough. If you encounter a patient who has some rare symptoms or illness, do not hesitate to ask other doctors around to be sure.

As much as possible, try to avoid being judgmental. Remember that every patient is unique and different from the other. Some people resort to self-harm to get attention, while others try to keep hold of reality. It is essential that you understand each patient before labeling or judging them.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Have an Open Mindset When Working in the ER

There are things you can’t control when working in this department. The most important thing is to remain as objective as possible when assessing the patient’s condition. It is essential to stay calm no matter how hectic or challenging a patient’s condition is. The only thing you can influence would be the patient’s medical outcome if they went to the emergency room.

Be patient and understanding when dealing with team members. The team works together to achieve a common goal to help every patient back to good health. There will be times when you need to work with people who may seem difficult or annoying, but they are your partners in saving lives.

Do Not Shy Away From Asking Questions

It is essential to learn more about the nature of any case. If you do not know how to treat a particular condition, do not hesitate to ask your co-workers for assistance. Everyone in the department has one common goal: to get patients back to good health and out of the ER as quickly as possible. Remember that patients are at the top of the priority list.


Working in the ER is not at all easy. It requires you to possess specific attributes and qualities essential to saving lives. However, the rewards and benefits you will get in return are far greater than your efforts and hard work. The job is one of a kind, with many responsibilities. So, buckle up, ensure you possess the proper certifications and qualifications, hone your soft and technical skills, and get ready to save a life.

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Guest Writer

This post has been curated by a Longevity Live editor for the website.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.