Ships in 24 hours
October 6th to 12th, 2013 is Emergency Nurses’ Week (also known as ER Nurse week)! During the last five months, I have had many unfortunate introductions to a couple of my local emergency rooms. Emergency nurses? They’re the backbone, and they keep the most chaotic part of the hospital moving, while dealing with an incredibly diverse population of patients and medical conditions within a very high stress environment.
From minor injuries to life-threatening medical crises, emergency nurses are there at the frontlines of the ER [the triage desk], determine how quickly a patient must be seen based on interpretations of his or her heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, as well as what their presenting concern is. Once a patient crosses into the back of an emergency room, nurses will once again check their vital signs and determine what treatment first-steps might be, and brief the doctor in the ER. The doctor will then provide detailed instructions for patient care—ER nurses may draw blood for diagnostic testing, set up cardiac and respiratory monitors, provide ordered medications that the doctor has charted for that patient, and listen to patients’ subjective experiences of their symptoms and determine what needs intervention, and how quickly. Emergency nurses also will prepare patients for emergency medical procedures and tests—for instance, placement of IV access lines, injections of contrast dyes for diagnostic imaging tests, insertion of urinary catheters prior to surgery, for patients who must remain immobilized or patients with altered consciousness.
Emergency nurses also must be able to act quickly in the event a patient’s condition changes for the worse rapidly—they must possess critical decision making skills and be able to make quick decisions regarding a patient’s care, physical strength to lift or move patients, recall or rapidly determine necessary patient medical information that is pertinent to a potential medical crisis, and be able to administer basic life-saving care practices in an extremely stressful environment.
Like most ER nurses, emergency nurses go into work uncertain of what will be ahead of them that day—but, unlike nurses who work with a standard population set each day [i.e. pre- or post-surgical patients, critical care patients in an intensive care unit, people with cancer], an emergency nurse may provide care to any or all patient subgroups in a single shift!
As a patient with a string of emergency room visits in my recent past, of all the nursing specialties, I think emergency nursing would be among the most interesting and diverse (and of course, if they have the pleasure of treating ME… I must make their shift awesome ;)). If you’ve never been to an emergency room, and I do not by any means provide a “standard” example, you can check out my personal blog for my latest string of ER visits—I mention a handful of experiences with emergency nurses, specifically on Tuesday, that can probably give a decent glimpse of all of the crazy things emergency nurses can do!
So what can you do to help your emergency nurses out in case you are the one to end up in the emergency room?
WRITTEN BY: Kerri MacKay for My Identity Doctor
Subscribe our newsletter and get all latest updated news about latest product, promortion and offers