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What did I REALLY know as an ER nurse?

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As I have written lately, I changed jobs.  I thought if I was going to try something, I would try something new.  I decided to take a position in a Cardiology clinic.  I have learned so much in the few short weeks I have been there.  I realized how little I know about cardiology, and how much I thought I knew.  I thought being able to read an EKG would be enough, boy was I wrong.

But, during this time I discovered something very important about myself.  I am an Emergency Room nurse.  I know ER nursing.  I am good at ER nursing.

The one thing I didn’t like about being an ER nurse all these years was that I didn’t know a lot about anything.  Let’s face it, an ER nurse knows a little bit about a lot of stuff.  I had focused most of my career as an ER nurse on cardiology because I wanted to know a lot about something, but now I realize I didn’t really know much at all.

One day I will go back to ER nursing, and being able to take what I am learning now, working directly with an amazing group of cardiologist will make me an even better ER nurse.

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed. Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university. Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.
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6 Responses to What did I REALLY know as an ER nurse?

  1. melissa

    I am currently working as a CMA/Phlebotomist and im am in my 3rd year Nursing student. My ultimate goal is to work in shock trauma but Ive been told its very hard to handle. How hard is it to get in to Shock Trauma right out of school?

  2. Sandi

    Rob I disagree…I was an ER RN for 16 years and I still am at heart. But I have moved on to calmer waters. ER nurses in general know a lot about everything. The ER that I spent the majority of my career in Nursing ruled the department. The physicians were dependent on our assessment skills and allowed us to order testing after consulting with them on our findings. I consider my years in the ER invaluable to who I have become as a nurse the skills and knowledge I have still serve me well. With that said I would never say I know everything in fact my motto is the day I think I know everything is the day I will retire.

  3. Sue Lovel

    I was an ER Nurse for many years, then a House Supervisor. I sill remeber my better days as an ER Nurse. Loved it!!! But too hard for me today to take the body stress.. So now I am an LVN Instructor and LOVE it.. and give them my little Er experiences nearly everyday.

  4. Your name

    I disagree as well. As ER nurse’s we are tops when it comes to ABC’s. In the hospital where I work, ER staff is the code team for the other units in the hospital. Resuscitation is our game. And triage, well, we can pick the sickest person out of a group of people with very little info. And the doctors really do depend on us. These are only a few areas where we excel.

  5. Carol

    I have been an Emergency Room nurse for about 15 years, the last 10 as a Unit Supervisor on the night shift. We do know a little about a lot of things…however, we know a lot about the important things, like resuscitation, Triage, cardiac and respiratory emergencies. We are the “go to people” in our facility for codes, stroke alerts, even difficult IV starts. A very wise instructor told me that a good nurse might know a lot of “things”, but a great nurse knows what to DO about those “things”. As important as having knowledge is knowing that you can’t know it all and to always have great uptodate resources. Health care is always changing, and you must have an open mind about those changes.
    available.

  6. Michelle

    I’m a former ER nurse and I agree with the poster. I was a good ER nurse but Im a GREAT ICU nurse. ER has and always will be my first passion. I learned a lot of things in the ICU and CCU. I first learned that everything that I did for the person in the ER was not always the BEST thing. I learned I delved a lot more into the person and what made their diagnosis more complicated than what I or the ER doctor saw. I learned I had to change a lot of the medications and critical care drips that were started in ER because they were not appropriate for the person. So I was a good ER nurse but Im a better ICU nurse. Thats not to say I still dont go back to the ER. I just go there now with more of an open mind and willingness to look at the person from a different perspective. Will I ever go back permanently only time can tell.. but for now Im loving the ICU/CCU and all the different aspects that are rendered even if my heart belongs to the ICU…I LOVE BEING A NURSE!!!