How to Become an ER Nurse in 2024

By | February 8, 2024

What does an ER nurse do? – Nurse jobs are always in high demand, and there are many different types of nurse jobs. However, there are a few things that all nurse jobs have in common. They require a lot of experience and a good sense of humor. In addition, they can be rewarding and provide some great opportunities for advancement. So, what are the best ways to become an ER nurse?

How to Become an ER Nurse - Best School News

Learn About Being an ER Nurse in 2024


The ER is the most important place in a hospital. It’s where you put patients who are injured or who have a major illness. You also see patients who are being treated for accidents, injuries, and illnesses. ER nurses work with other staff members to help those in need. In addition to providing care, ER nurses work on many different tasks that are important in an emergency room.

What is an ER Nurse called?

ER nurses are the foremost professionals in the field of emergency medicine. They are responsible for providing care to patients during and after an ambulance service arrival or a surgical procedure. ER nurses also deal with other critical medical situations, such as patients with heart disease, asthma, or diabetes.

What does an ER nurse do?

ER nurses are responsible for providing acute care on the ground. They may also be called upon to provide rescue and stabilization in the event of an injury or illness. ER nurses are also vital members of the community. They work tirelessly to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent diseases through preventive care. In order to become an ER nurse, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of medical terminology and anatomy. You’ll also need to be able to communicate effectively with patients, medical staff, and other health professionals.

An emergency room (ER) nurse is a medical professional who attends to patients in the emergency room of a hospital. An ER nurse might be one of the first people to assist a patient and their family. Because of the nature of an ER, patients who come in will be of all ages and can need care for various causes, such as car accident injuries, sporting injuries, anaphylactic reactions and heart attacks. An ER nurse will have to decide the next steps for these patients and should have a keen diagnostic eye. Some duties of an ER nurse include:

  • Triaging patients who enter the ER

  • Maintaining communication between the staff and patients’ families to keep them aware of the patient’s condition

  • Identifying symptoms and treatments for a wide range of conditions

  • Helping with check-in and other paperwork for patients when they enter

  • Working with front desk employees, physicians, technicians and other staff to facilitate care

Average salary

Most ER nurses are full-time employees, although some may work part time or take temporary positions. Salaries for ER nurses vary according to their level of education, years of experience, the size of the hospital and geographic location.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $37.85 per hour

  • Some salaries range from $20.65 to $77.65 per hour.

ER nurse requirements

ER nurses need certain education, training, certifications and skills:


An ER nurse needs either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN). An ADN is a two-year program and a minimum requirement. The BSN typically takes four years to complete, which includes two years of prerequisites, coursework and clinical hours. You can apply for an accelerated 15-month BSN program if you already have a related bachelor’s degree. Today, many hospitals only hire BSN holders for ER roles. Some hire nurses with an ADN but require that they achieve a BSN within a certain amount of time from when they were hired.

After receiving their degrees, nurses must register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and complete the NCLEX-RN examination. Each state has requirements about what additional exams prospective nurses need to pass, so candidates should contact their state boards for more information.


Nurses receive training by completing the required clinical hours as they earn their degrees. Many hospitals also provide on-the-job training after hiring new nurses. If a nurse previously worked in another department, such as labor and delivery or oncology, much of their training will be transferrable. They will learn skills specific to the ER during their initial time period on the job. Examples of required skills for ER nurses are inserting intravenous lines, transfusing blood, setting bones, stitching wounds, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and rescue breathing.


Nurses can obtain many different certifications to demonstrate their expertise in a specialized aspect of patient care. Here are two common certifications for emergency room nurses:

Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)

The Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) credential is a nationally-accepted certification developed by the Emergency Nurses Association and administered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing. Nurses study for the exam on their own. You will have to recertify every four years.

Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP)

A nurse practitioner who wants to specialize even further can pursue an Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) certificate. The ENP certification examination is a competency-based exam for certified family nurse practitioners with specialty education and practice in emergency care. This examination and certificate are administered by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.


An ER nurse works in a high-pressure environment and needs to have the following hard and soft skills:

Listening skills

The ER is often crowded and loud, and ER nurses may assess conditions ranging from bullet wounds and burns to heart failure or panic attacks. Some patients may not have insurance and may need extra help with paperwork. An ER nurse will need to stay calm and focused and use listening skills to gain as much information as they can from each case to make further decisions about patient care.

Physical strength and stamina

ER nurses often work long shifts and are on their feet much of that time. They need to be strong enough to sustain energy levels for long periods of time.

Diagnostic skills

The nurse is often the first line of contact for a patient who comes into the ER. The ER nurse has to assess the patient’s condition and decide immediate care, which specialists to send for, what treatments to recommend and what tests to run.


ER nurses frequently have to communicate with the family or friends of patients, who may be upset, panicked or bereaved, and the ER nurse must have the ability to interact with them compassionately.

Interpersonal skills

ER nurses work with other doctors, nurses, technicians and emergency personnel to care for patients. They need to communicate effectively to extract information in tense and chaotic situations and pass that information to physicians and other personnel without making mistakes or sacrificing clarity.

Technical skills

ER nurses have to be familiar with a variety of instruments, from basic ones like blood pressure cuffs to more complex equipment, such as defibrillators. Technical skills and familiarity with such equipment are a must.

ER nurse work environment

Some characteristics of an ER nurse’s work environment include:

  • A stressful, fast-paced and emotional atmosphere

  • Interaction with vulnerable patients and their friends and family

  • Working with large staffs of professionals, including doctors, technicians and physician assistants

  • Frequent use of medical equipment

  • Exposure to blood and other bodily fluids

  • Extensive time spent standing or walking in the hospital

  • Long shifts and being on-call when not working

How to become an ER nurse

Becoming an ER nurse is a process that will take up to four years of school. Here are the steps:

1. Obtain the appropriate education.

Enroll in either an ADN or BSN program. An ADN is a two-year program and a minimum requirement, so be aware that you may have to continue to complete the BSN within a certain amount of time from being hired. Complete all coursework and clinical hours required by the degree.

2. Pass the board exams.

Register for and pass the NCLEX-RN exam, without which nurses cannot practice in the United States. Contact your state board to find out about your state’s requirements.

3. Create a resume.

List your education, skills and experience. Tailor your resume to the position for which you are applying and include the most relevant details.

ER nurse job description example

ER nurse sought at a county hospital in Bradenton, FL. Our hospital sees a large volume of patients, including a large population of HIV and hepatitis patients. We also serve a large senior citizen population. The ER nurse will work with a team of nurses, physicians and technicians to check in and triage patients, administer medications and monitor vital signs, supervise nursing assistants, assist physicians during examination and treatment, clean wounds and change dressings and assess patients’ conditions.

We are looking for someone with a BSN who has completed all Florida licensing examinations and is efficient, flexible and a team player. We also want nurses who are keen on mentoring new hires and interested in pursuing further leadership opportunities. Nurses who have experience with diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis, who have worked with large elderly populations and are familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients will be an especially good fit for this position. Some evenings, weekends and holidays are required.

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