5 Emergency Nursing Skills You Can Only Learn on the Job

emergency room skillsBy Kathy Marshall, Contributor

While many emergency nursing skills are taught in a classroom, other ER nursing skills can only be developed in the emergency room while on the clock. 

Being an ER nurse takes an incredible amount of skills and training, as it’s a fast-paced, high-stress environment.

While schooling helps in the development of skills, some emergency room nursing skills come only with experience.

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Below are five emergency nursing skills you can only learn on the job.

5 Emergency Nursing Skills You’ll Learn on the Job

1. Ability to Remain Calm 

Performing emergency nursing skills in a controlled, classroom environment is entirely different from the reality of using those ER nursing skills in the emergency room. 

Perhaps there are moments of peace, but for many emergency rooms, loud noises, strong smells, and high tensions abound. 

Learning to remain calm and continue to perform your emergency nursing skills despite the surrounding chaos is a skill you must, and can, master with time.

2. Setting Aside Personal Feelings 

In the nursing profession, it is almost inevitable that situations will arise that are emotionally taxing. For example, if your patient is a small child who has injuries as result of abuse. 

In these situations, it is vital that you continue to perform your emergency nursing duties. Most importantly, provide whatever medical care the patient requires.

You cannot learn how to keep your cool and administer to the patient’s immediate needs unless you’re involved in real-life situations. 

No classroom scenario can teach you how to keep your personal feelings from interfering with your performance.

3. Being Assertive 

Emergency nursing skills encompass more than just administering IVs or finishing your charting quickly. 

While practical ER nursing skills are essential, learning when and how to speak up is imperative to your role as an emergency nurse. 

Oftentimes, you will be the only advocate that your patient has. 

Therefore, learning how to voice concerns and ideas, especially to other professionals, takes time. But remember: being assertive is not the same as being aggressive.

4. Time Management 

After your first shift as an ER nurse, you will probably feel overwhelmed. The role of a nurse involves more than just placing a bandage or administering medication. 

Emergency room nursing skills require the use of time management. Nurses are now taking a much more prominent role in the initial and ongoing duty of patient assessment. 

In addition to assessments, patient education, inter-agency communications, and patient care all demand an ER nurse’s attention.

5. Personal Coping Methods 

As you perform a variety of emergency nursing skills, you will encounter people who are in terrible situations. 

Every shift requires you to deliver the best patient care you can. For the sake of your future patients, you will learn how to handle the difficult things you see and experience. 

To deliver effective emergency room nursing skills, you will develop ways to process all the hard things you have seen, heard, and done, all to maintain your wellbeing.

Working in an ER setting and providing emergency nursing skills is a tough and sometimes grueling venture. However, watching your patient walk out the door because you delivered the best care possible makes it all worthwhile. 

Even on the days you feel tired or defeated, your training and experience will kick in and allow you to deliver the emergency nursing skills required to change lives.

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