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Emergency Nurse

Emergency nurses work with patients of all ages and ailments when they emerge in a hospital or clinic having critical or potentially life-threatening injuries or illnesses. These emerging patients may come in with observable trauma (such as serious injury from a car accident or gunshot wound) or undiagnosed health crises, such as unconsciousness or extreme abdominal pain. Therefore, an emergency nurse must use good judgment to discover the source of the problem. Emergency nurses use their training to stabilize and resuscitate patients. They are responsible for assessing the severity of the situation and prioritizing patients through triage, analyzing the patient’s needs, making a preliminary diagnosis and initiating a nursing care plan.

Many emergency nurse positions require only an associate degree in nursing from an accredited school of nursing, which can be obtained by trade/vocational schools, community colleges, online colleges and some four-year universities. However, the preferred qualification is a bachelor’s degree, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After completing their education, anyone who wants to become an emergency nurse must obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the state in which they plan to work. Many employers require their emergency nurses to have obtained CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification as well, due to the nature of their work.

Entry-level nurses working in the ER with less than a year of experience earn about $19.71-$25.60 an hour, according to online compensation site Those with 1-4 years of experience earned about $24.07-$32.73. The maximum hourly rate recorded was $37.64 an hour for those emergency nurses with 20+ years of experience. Due to today’s persistent nursing shortage, there is projected to be a great need for emergency room nurses over the next 10 years as the baby boomers enter retirement and become at greater risk for health emergencies. Many emergency nurses are drawn to the profession because of the opportunity to work as part of a health care team that saves lives.