Would You Make a Good ER Nurse?

Have you been thinking about becoming an ER nurse?

Within the occupational category of careers in nursing, there are a number of specialties to choose from that may require additional training or certification. One such area that needs nurses who have great multi-tasking capabilities, stamina and the ability to make quick decisions is the emergency room. ER nurses have an important role to play whether a child has broken bones or there is a large-scale crisis. Think you have what it takes to be an ER nurse? Here's what you need to know:

Education
Emergency room nurses must meet the minimal requirements that all other nurses face, which means they have to earn a degree in nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). It is recommended that aspiring nurses who wish to eventually work in emergency rooms first become registered nurses (by way of either an associate or bachelor's degree) and gain at least two years of experience.

Certification
While you do not necessarily need to be certified to become an ER nurse, it can improve your employment outlook. After gaining on-the-job experience, you can apply for an emergency nursing certification from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), which is a division of the Emergency Nurses' Association. The exam will test you an a variety of ER situations, including wound management and substance abuse situations.

Skills
Like all registered nurses, ER nurses need to be able to communicate clearly and have good assessment and prioritization skills. However, emergency rooms are generally faster paced than other areas of the hospital, so you will also need to keep your cool amidst chaos and be able to shift gears at a moment's notice. People admitted to emergency rooms have generally undergone something traumatic, so you will also need to have the ability to cope with stressful situations.

Employment
Employment in the nursing profession as a whole is strong, with 26 percent job growth expected between 2010 and 2020. ER nurses are considered clinical nurse specialists, and salaries range from $65,000 to more than $110,000 for those in the highest positions.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN, BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. To find out more, please visit www.wgu.edu/wisecareers_nursing

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