The work of emergency departments and the highly skilled medical professionals who run them is quite extraordinary, at times, and their importance in the healthcare system is undeniable. Emergency departments, in addition to providing services for the most catastrophic emergencies, also frequently address the healthcare needs of the uninsured.
According to a 2011 survey by the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of individuals (even those with insurance) report visiting the emergency department if they cannot gain access to a physician or other healthcare provider.
Increased Emergency Department Visits
With an increase in visits to the emergency room and forecasts showing a growing population, the demand for emergency room professionals is greater than ever.
The nation’s population is projected to grow more than 27 percent by 2050, and a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine reported that visits to the emergency department increased 60 percent faster than the population growth from 2001 to 2008.
The Role of the Emergency Nurse
Hospitals will need to be prepared for these changes by ensuring that the larger volume of patients who seek immediate care are served by emergency professionals, such as emergency room nurses, who can provide prompt and expert care.
President of the Emergency Nurses Association said that emergency nurses have the “knowledge and skills to provide immediate assessment of patients…” She also said that these nurses know how to help treat a wide array of emergencies while also serving as patient advocates.
Emergency nurses must hold an advanced degree, such as a Bachelor or Master of Science in Nursing, which includes specific critical care courses and training. This specialty career also requires an ability to adapt to quickly changing circumstances; the ability to remain calm, even under the most emotionally charged situations; and the ability to communicate effectively with co-workers, patients, and families.