Emergency rooms are incredibly fast-paced and stressful. Nurses have to do a lot of work so that everything stays smooth. Not every nurse can be qualified enough to work as a certified emergency nurse. The job requires a vast skill set, which is very different from basic nursing skills. However, these nurses play a huge role in ensuring every patient receives the best medical treatment and care. They have to maintain the emergency room and get everything ready for doctors to come and treat the patient. They also have responsibilities, such as treating patients and assisting doctors in medical procedures. Everything needs to be done efficiently and rapidly while staying calm in challenging situations. Below we will talk about seven roles and responsibilities of a certified emergency nurse.
1. Checking Patients of Every Age
The most basic responsibility of an emergency nurse is to check up on their patients. They must ensure that their patient is comfortable. Nurses have to monitor them and follow up on the doctor’s orders. They sometimes also have to stay long hours, in serious conditions, to ensure that the patient does not get critical overnight. If this does happen, they must notify the doctor immediately and take charge until the doctor arrives.
Moreover, if their patient is a child, this job becomes more challenging. For that, nurses must have the basic skills and knowledge needed, like Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification, to save the life of the children. It is designed to teach them how to properly assess patients, provide advanced interventions, and utilizing scenarios while applying critical thinking skills. However, PALS certification is valid only for two years. Therefore, to stay up to date, nurses can opt for a PALS recertification, which will help them provide effective care to pediatric patients. Caring for patients also means caring for their families. If a patient’s family member asks for updates or any other request, nurses must facilitate them.
2. Administering Tests
Nurses are responsible for keeping a patient’s chart updated with all the necessary tests, such as patient vitals. It is one of the key responsibilities of any emergency room nurse. They note down blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, temperature, and much more. These tests keep repeating in intervals while the patient is in the emergency room. Taking vital signs is essential to keep checking on their condition. It helps them stay alert to notify the doctors in case anything changes or goes wrong. Also, nurses take blood and urine samples to the lab to further show the test reports to the doctors in charge.
3. Providing Medication
A practitioner orders a medication, but nurses are the ones who provide it to the patient. These can either be through handing the patient pills and water whenever needed. Or by giving medication through an IV (intravenous infusion). They are also responsible for changing the medication and monitoring the reactions patients may have from it. They will also have to ask for allergies or existing medication from the patient or the family before administering any new ones.
4. Treating Injuries
Although doctors usually cater to injuries, nurses help out with less serious cases. They can help provide medical treatment to patients with less problematic injuries, such as a sore throat, cleaning and stitching wounds, allergic reactions, and providing stitches. They can also assist doctors with procedures and provide them with extra hands as needed. An example would be to intubate critical patients to stabilize them while the doctor gets prepped for surgery. However, nurses play an essential role in supporting patients and doctors during minor surgery.
5. Administrative Work
Nurses are responsible for the tedious administrative work as well. They have the responsibility of discharging a patient, the paperwork from it, etc. While doing this, they also have to explain any problems patients may face, the dos and don’ts, and answer their questions. They also look after patients’ medical records, charts, consent forms for surgery, and other necessary documentation. Lastly, they also take follow-up appointments while recommending certain things that will help in their speedy recovery.
6. Maintaining Standards
Maintaining the emergency room to its best quality standard is a challenging task for nurses. It is essential to prevent panic from spreading and help doctors easily focus on their patients. They must ensure there is plenty of equipment, beds, and properly filed charts. Nurses write down, in a chart, a patient’s medical history, and other essential details. With the help of accurate records, other staff members can read up on the patient’s condition and then move forward with treatment. Nurses must ensure the charts are correct and placed in the files to prevent errors and lawsuits.
7. Provide Quick Solutions
The emergency room has a fast-paced environment, which is why the staff must be quick in attending to problems as well. Nurses must triage and prioritize medical care based on how critical a patient may be. To do this, nurses must have good decision-making skills. If they are quick in analyzing the situation, they will be able to make the correct decision. It is also a plus point if they have rapid problem-solving and critical thinking skills. All these skills will help in providing quick solutions to challenging problems and help with assisting the doctors. If they can rapidly assess a patient’s condition, they can then call the practitioners. It will help in smoothly guiding them through their condition while providing suggestions for treatment.
Emergency room nurses are the foundation of everything. Without them, there would be so many problems and mayhem that no one would be able to do their job. Most importantly, without them, the patients would not receive top-quality treatments either. The job requires commitment, hard work, communication skills, and patience under stressful situations. Only nurses can handle all these tasks and more. The roles and responsibilities they have may seem insignificant. But without them doing their jobs, nothing would be possible.