An LPN to RN program starts you on a path to more opportunities in nursing. While your PN license may qualify you to work as you study, some jobs may require you to wait until you get your RN license. The good news is that the experience you have as a practicing nurse will always give you an edge over other RNs who may not have a similar experience.
The emergency room presents a fast-paced environment where nurses and medical professionals must respond fast; sometimes the experience of the team responding to the emergency can mean life or death for the patient.
Getting a job as a student in the ER requires an understanding of the role of an ER nurse and the tasks you are likely to face.
The Role of an ER Nurse
An ER nurse responds to medical emergencies that may range from chronic illnesses to fatal accidents. In most facilities, the emergency room is a fast-paced environment with many patients coming in round the clock. Nurses and doctors must respond fast to the emergency before passing on the patient to the necessary department within the hospital. The quick response is quite critical to the life of the patient.
Nurses must also respond to minor emergencies such as cuts to avoid overcrowding the ER. Often, the work requires long hours, with shifts that may run for up to 24 hours when there is a major emergency such as a highway accident involving multiple cars.
Working in the ER
Every day in the ER is different; nurses must have the knowledge and skills to assess patients accurately and choose the patients to prioritize, regardless of who is first in line. The emergency response begins with stabilizing the patient to prevent the condition from worsening, treating patients for shock and checking the vitals.
Sometimes the stabilization process will require medical procedures such as intubation; rescue breathing; suturing; tracheotomies and delivering babies among others. Such procedures need a highly skilled nurse, who knows how to handle different equipment in the emergency room. Your response to the situation is often a matter of life and death.
Opportunities for Students
While you may come into an LPN to RN program with experience, your chances of finding employment in the emergency room are quite low. However, this does not mean you cannot work in the emergency room at all.
Start by looking for vacancies with facilities you have worked with before as an LPN; they have seen your work and are likely to trust you faster than other employers. If this is not an option for you, look for teaching hospitals. They will always have programs that will have you working in the emergency room at some point in your studies.
Alternatively, look for opportunities in hospitals with an emergency room and speak to your supervisor to let you work in the emergency room. Start with a small request such as working there once a week, and build it up gradually. Lastly, look for a facility with a small emergency room where they receive minor emergencies such as fractures and fevers, where you can gain the experience you need for busier ERs.
The ER presents several learning opportunities for an LPN to RN student. Getting employment in the ER as a student requires you to be strategic and patient. The Athena Career Academy offers you an extensive LPN to RN program, with mentorship from different experts to help you access different opportunities while still a student, including working in the ER.