2020 has been a historic time for nurses. It is the official Year of the Nurse and Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. It’s also the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, a period for which nurses’ heroism will always be remembered.
October 11 – 17 is Emergency Nurses Week, with a special focus on October 14 as Emergency Nurses Day. GIFTED Healthcare is honored to support the incredible work of emergency nurses across the country — they have been vitally important on the front-lines of COVID-19 and beyond. Emergency nurses are heroes, and they deserve to be recognized!
To celebrate Emergency Nurses Day, we’re exploring the reasons why emergency nurses are so incredibly important and unique. Read on to learn about emergency nurses!
What Makes Emergency Nursing Unique?
Emergency nursing is one-of-a-kind. Emergency nurses occupy a variety of different roles and facilities, but all of them specialize in rapid assessment and treatment of patients.
There are about 90,000 emergency nurses in the United States. Emergency RNs must be knowledgeable about many kinds of care because they treat a wide variety of conditions and illnesses for patients of all ages, which range from common colds to heart attacks. Emergency nurses see it all.
In a sense, emergency nurses must be a jack of all trades, remaining on alert and ready for the wide range of situations they can be presented with at any time. They also must be prepared to handle a high volume of patients with compassion and professionalism — for example, a triage nurse in a busy emergency room can see as many as 100 patients in 12 hours.
According to Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow, emergency nurses’ responsibilities fall within three major categories:
- Patient Care — Emergency nurses care for patients and families in hospital emergency departments, ambulances, helicopters, urgent care centers, cruise ships, sports arenas, industry, government, and anywhere someone may have a medical emergency or where medical advances or injury prevention is a concern.
- Education — Emergency nurses provide education to the public through programs to promote wellness and prevent injuries, such as alcohol awareness, child passenger safety, gun safety, bicycle and helmet safety, and domestic violence prevention.
- Leadership and Research — Emergency nurses also may work as administrators, managers, and researchers who work to improve emergency health care.
Different Types of Emergency Nurses
There are so many different kinds of emergency nurses. Emergency RNs usually switch between several or many roles over the course of their career.
Check out some of the different roles of an emergency nurse below, according to the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA):
Becoming a Trauma Nurse requires special training and years of experience. Trauma Nurses work in Trauma Centers, caring for emergency patients transported by ambulance, helicopter, or personal vehicle.
Code Nurses care for the sickest patients in the Emergency Department. They work with physicians to care for critically ill patients in cardiac arrest and other severe ailments. Code Nurses must earn both Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) Certification and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification.
Triage Nurses are essential for successfully running an emergency department and producing successful patient outcomes. They collect information about patients who are seeking emergency care and make decisions on how quickly they require care based on their complaints, vital signs, and the resources they require.
Disaster Response/Emergency Preparedness Nurse
In the event of a disaster, all emergency nurses become first-responders. During a local crisis, emergency nurses become the first point of contact for victims of the event. All ED nurses should have annual training in disaster response per the policy of their facility.
The Charge Nurse can be considered the captain of the emergency department. They are responsible for staffing, patient assignments, communication with physicians and nursing leadership, and more. Charge Nurses are the leaders responsible for ensuring the department continues functioning optimally when the going gets rough.
More Emergency Nurse Roles
The list above is not comprehensive. See below for more emergency nurse roles:
- Military Nurse
- Flight Nurse
- Critical-Care Transport (CCT) Nurse
- Pediatric ED Nurse
- Burn Center Nurse
- Geriatric ED Nurse
Emergency Nurses’ Heart of Gold
2020 is the ENA’s 50th anniversary, and its theme for this year’s Emergency Nurses Week is “Heart of Gold.” Regarding this year’s celebration, ENA says, “The Year of the Nurse and Florence Nightingale’s 200th anniversary were supposed to make 2020 the ultimate celebration for nurses. Instead, 2020 had other plans, and nurses have stepped up to the challenge. Now, we’re celebrating your heart of gold. During a difficult year, you have all risked your health to treat patients and have truly put your heart of gold on display for the world to see.”
GIFTED Healthcare extends a big THANK YOU to all of our amazing emergency nurses! Happy Emergency Nurses Day!
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