Emergency room nursing careers are challenging but rewarding. Learn how you can earn a master's in nursing online and work in an ER.

Smiling, confident nurse standing in the emergency room.

Nurses play a vital role in hospitals and doctors’ offices around the world. Today there is a wide range of nursing careers, and emergency room nurses have some of the most challenging and demanding roles in the field.

An ER nurse cares for patients in emergency situations, such as trauma, injury, or illness. If you’re a nurse with a BSN who is interested in career advancement, earning a Master of Science in Nursing is a great step, especially if you’re interested in becoming an ER nurse or nurse practitioner.

Emergency Room Ready

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States sees more than 136 million emergency department visits each year, 39 million of which are injury related.1 While most patients who arrive in the ER are treated and released, more than 12.3 million visits result in hospital admission. Patients admitted in the ER present with a number of issues, such as abdominal pain, sprains, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, and maternal and neonatal issues.2

An ER nurse works in noisy and busy settings, treating patients in often life-threatening condition. If you’re considering a nursing career in the ER but aren’t sure you have what it takes, consider the following traits and skills of a great ER nurse:

  • Quickness. When dealing with patients in emergency situations, an ER nurse must be able to think and act fast. In many cases, a few minutes can mean the difference between life or death. Doctors and nurses must be capable of quickly assessing a patient and administering the right care without hesitation.
  • Calmness. Along with acting quickly, an ER nurse must be able to act calmly when treating patients in serious condition. When patients with severe injuries or illness are panicked, it’s a nurse’s job to help ease their minds by staying calm and collected.
  • Communication. Both patients and ER doctors need nurses who are can communicate honestly, confidently, directly, objectively, and accurately. In addition, nurses must have the ability to communicate with the family members and friends of patients. Proper communication skills training has been shown to improve patient satisfaction and reduce the number of complaints from patients.3
  • Coping. Sadly, not all ER patients will survive their injuries and illnesses, and even the best ER nurse won’t be able to save all patients. Being able to deal with these losses—along with the emotions that come with caring for very sick or injured patients—is key to working in an ER.

Prepare With an MSN Degree

Find out why Walden University is the leading provider of advanced nursing degrees in the U.S., producing more MSN graduates than any other university.4 With eight specializations to suit your educational and career goals, along with a teaching faculty who have all attained the highest nursing degrees available, Walden offers one of the highest quality accredited online MSN programs available today.

Whether you want to become a nurse practitioner or go into specialty practice, Walden’s MSN degree program gives you the option to choose a specialization that’s right for you. Decide for yourself or answer a few simple questions to help you decide. Choosing a nursing school is a big step, but if you’re ready to begin earning a master’s in nursing online, choosing Walden is a great way to keep working while you advance your education.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program, with accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Expand your career options and earn your master’s degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


1Source: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/emergency-department.htm
2Source: https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb227-Emergency-Department-Visit-Trends.pdf
3Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3133844/
4Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP codes 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse); 51.3808 (Nursing Science); 51.3818 (Nursing Practice). Includes 2016 preliminary data.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org).

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