Skip to Content
Resource Articles //

8 Illnesses and Traumas Nursing School Graduates Might Treat in an Emergency Room

MSN programs can position you for roles in the fast-paced and constantly changing world of emergency room medicine.

Most people hope never to visit an emergency room but are grateful to have one nearby if an urgent medical need develops. In the United States in 2016, pressing medical concerns resulted in 45.8 ER visits for every 100 people, or 145.6 million annual visits.1

The medical professionals who staff emergency rooms know that on a moment’s notice, they must be prepared to diagnose and treat a diverse and unspecified number of conditions ranging from appendicitis to Zika virus. Nurses play a significant role in delivering this patient care, and if you thrive in a challenging, fast-paced environment, you may want to consider a nursing career in the emergency department.

8 Illnesses and Traumas Nursing School Graduates Might Treat in an Emergency Room

In the ER, there is no way of predicting what traumas and illnesses you’ll encounter on any given shift, on any given day. Indeed, that is part of the job’s appeal to most nurses who decide to work in this arena. “I chose to become an ER nurse because I thought it would be a job where I would never get bored,” one Boston-based RN said. “The energy, excitement, teamwork and the goal to save lives and the knowledge needed to do this is what continues to drive my daily passion for emergency nursing.” 2

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention track the reasons for emergency room visits, and if you’re preparing for a career in the ER, you may be interested in learning the top eight conditions that prompt patients to seek treatment: 3

  • Stomach and abdominal pain, cramps, and spasms
  • Chest pain and related symptoms (not referable to body systems)
  • Fever
  • Cough 
  • Headache, pain in head
  • Back symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain, site not referable to a specific body system  

The millions of patients who come through ER doors with these symptoms can receive strikingly different diagnoses. For example, the root cause of fever may stem from such diverse causes as infection, amphetamine abuse, and heat stroke. 4 Working in the emergency room as a nurse, you can draw on learned skills for assessing patients, making diagnoses, and developing treatment and care plans. If this is the type of dynamic career you seek, an online MSN program from an accredited university can provide the education and training to help you step into a critical emergency room role.

What Should I Look for in an RN to MSN Online Program?

As a working professional planning your career move from an RN to MSN, you’ll want to select an online nursing school that offers multiple specializations and a flexible format that allows you to log in whenever and wherever you choose.

Walden University—the leading provider of advanced nursing degrees in the U.S., producing more MSN graduates than any other university*—offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program with eight specializations. Online MSN degree programs such as Walden’s can prepare you for a position in the emergency department or support your interest in another rewarding nursing field—adult/gerontology, for example, or nursing informatics.

An MSN degree can open the door to valuable career opportunities in hospitals—which employ 60% of all registered nurses5—or settings such as schools, public health departments, and long-term care facilities. The choices are abundant, and the job outlook is bright: Faster-than-average job growth is projected for RNs, with an estimated 371,500 positions expected to be added between 2018 and 2028. 6 With a Master of Science in Nursing, you can follow a career path of purpose, making a difference in the lives of patients and their families.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MSN program with eight specializations. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

*Source: 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.