Emergency Nurses


Employment Prospects


Many emergency nurses work in hospital emergency rooms or emergency-care centers. They are also employed by managed-care facilities, long-term-care facilities, government agencies, camps, corporations, businesses, correctional institutions, poison control centers, the military, and other health care institutions. Other employment settings include emergency medical services/prehospital transport, flight nursing in helicopters/airplanes, and telephone triage. There are about 3.1 million registered nurses working in hospitals, including ER nurses.

Starting Out

Emergency nurses must first become registered nurses by completing one of the three kinds of educational programs and passing the licensing examination. Registered nurses may apply for employment directly to hospitals, nursing homes, and companies and government agencies that hire nurses. Jobs can also be obtained through school career services offices, by signing up with employment agencies specializing in placement of nursing personnel, or through state employment offices. Other sources of jobs include nurses' associations, professional journals, career and social networking Web sites, and newspaper want ads.

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) advises new graduates who are unable to immediately land a job as an emergency nurse to obtain experience in a critical care environment, a medical-surgical environment, or a step-down or intermediate care unit to build their knowledge and skills and improve their attractiveness to potential employers. 

The ENA also recommends that registered nurses who want to break into the field of emergency nursing should take classes in advanced cardiac life support (which are available at local hospitals) and pediatric advanced life support (which are offered by some nursing schools). 

Advancement Prospects

Administrative and supervisory positions in the nursing field go to nurses who have earned at least the bachelor of science degree in nursing. Nurses with many years of experience who are graduates of the diploma program may achieve supervisory positions, but requirements for such promotions have become more difficult in recent years and in many cases require at least the bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Tips for Entry

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:

  • https://careers.astna.org
  • http://www.healthecareers.com
  • https://www.nurse.com/jobs

Read the Journal of Emergency Nursing (https://www.jenonline.org) and Air Medical Journal (http://www.airmedicaljournal.com) to learn more about the industry.

Join the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and other nursing organizations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.

Volunteer for ENA committees, special interest groups, and workgroups to raise your profile and make networking contacts.