The most important responsibility for an emergency nurse is understanding triage, which is a method of prioritizing injuries based on medical need. An emergency nurse must have the ability to make quick and accurate assessments about incoming patients, including both physical and mental health conditions.
Time management is crucial in this job. Along with triage, emergency nurses must quickly ascertain the following information from incoming patients:
- Identify the medical problem
- Document medical history
- Check for any allergies and current medications
- Obtain height, weight, body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure
- Other responsibilities include moving patients, taking blood samples, cleaning and bandaging wounds, administering medications and maintaining proper supplies of medical equipment.
As with other health care professionals, emergency nurses are expected to comply with protocols, procedures and safety policies of a health care facility. Emotional stability, communication, leadership, sympathy and attention to detail are traits common among successful emergency nurses.
Emergency nurses are usually registered nurses with specialized training and education. Many supplement their training with certification in specific areas of emergency health care.
Emergency nurses work in emergency rooms or trauma centres, where they intake patients, assess injuries or health conditions, and help physicians in treating patients appropriately. They must have a degree in nursing and be licensed, but other valuable skills include communication skills, ability to work in a team and as a leader, and being both decisive and sympathetic.