Thinking About ER Medicine


I have been a nurse for a year. I realize that isn’t a lot of experience, but I keep feeling like a pull at my heart to do ER medicine. But I worry I am not going to be any good and potentially hurt people. For those ER nurses, how did you start and how did you know you wouldn’t kill anyone because you aren’t good enough?


Hey! I started working in the ED immediately post-BSN. I have been working there for a year now, and I was super nervous as a new grad which I’m sure you can relate to. I live in NY where all new grads need to complete a fellowship program in order to work in the ER (it was a law that you need 1 year of experience so this provided that, but I think it may be changing). It was 10 weeks of classroom instruction followed by 5-6 months of preceptorship. I felt it really prepared me well and gave me a solid foundation so I wasn’t as nervous to practice independently.
If your institution or ones near you provide a fellowship/residency program, this would be most beneficial to you. The ED is different than other fields of nursing in that you see literally everything (usually, depends on acuity of your hospital) and the flow is different than the floors or outpatient.
It’s good to have some fear, but don’t let your insecurity get in the way of following a passion. NEVER be afraid to ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable, ask a more experienced nurse. Be cautious but confident. You have a good foundation as a nurse after a year if you’ve been working in the hospital. What is your current position?

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