nursing banner

Emergency nursing

Emergency nursing is a specialty within the field of professional nursing focusing on the care of patients with medical emergencies, that is, those who require prompt medical attention to avoid long-term disability or death. Emergency nurses are most frequently employed in hospital emergency departments (EDs), although they may also work in urgent care centers, sports arenas, and on medical transport aircraft and ground ambulances. In addition to addressing these "true emergencies," emergency nurses increasingly care for people who are unwilling or unable to get primary medical care elsewhere and come to emergency departments for help. Besides heart attacks, strokes, gunshot wounds and car accidents, emergency nurses also tend to patients with acute alcohol and/or drug intoxication, psychiatric and behavioral problems and those who have been raped. They must be adept at working with patients of many different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages and types of disabilities. Emergency nurses must also have a good working knowledge of the many legal issues impacting health care such as consent, handling of evidence, mandatory reporting of child and elder abuse and involuntary psychiatric holds. In their role as patient educators, they must have a thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and psychology and be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families.