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Emergency nursing is a crucial specialty in the healthcare field that demands high standards for professional excellence, stress management and critical thinking. Because emergency nursing primarily involves treating patients with trauma and undiagnosed conditions, the Certified Emergency Nurse or CEN must be highly educated, extremely proficient and exceptionally efficient. Hesitant or errant effort can cost patients their lives. This occupational specialty is not for everyone, but for those who thrive under pressure, emergency nursing can be a very rewarding career.
Education and Certification
All emergency nurses have at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing; that offline or online degree is the cornerstone of all registered nursing occupations. Although the baccalaureate degree isn’t the only path available, it is the most common and the entry level most required by healthcare facilities. Whether the CEN works in the emergency department of a hospital, in a free-standing emergency facility or in other environments, the education, qualification and certifications required are identical.
Once the Registered Nurse decides he wants to pursue a career in the emergency care field, he must meet several qualifying standards before being accepted into the specialized career training. Experience in the nursing field is only the first step. Few certification programs will accept an applicant with less than three years of experience and certification in acute care or Acute Care Life Support or ACLS care.
Continuing education requirements for all registered nurses convince many nurses to go back to school part-time to gain a higher degree, such as an online masters degree or even an online PhD in a nursing-related field; the post-graduate degrees can be in education or administration, for example, and be applied to a medical research, healthcare or teaching environment.
Various courses may include focuses on emergency nursing, critical care and trauma treatment. The nurse will receive clinical training as well as a course load of material. Once the training has successfully concluded, the RN may take the CEN exam administered by the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing. If passed, the nurse does not apply for an upgraded license from the state but is authorized to proudly claim the CEN credential and is qualified to work in an emergency-care environment.
Because the versatility of this specialized occupation reaches beyond hospitals and trauma centers, the overall job outlook for CEN nurses is solid. Viable and rewarding jobs can be found with the government in the Health Care Administration, Boards of Nursing and even correctional institutions. On the private front, job opportunities include research, poison control centers, cruise ships, sporting events or concerts, crisis intervention centers, education and more.
Because approximately 60% of CEN positions are in hospitals, the emergency department personnel are subjected to lay-offs from budget cuts as other healthcare professions are. However, the primary reason for turn-over in this field stems from prolonged stress: The Emergency Department is not a good work environment for someone who cannot effectively channel stress. Even the best ED nurses, however, do need breaks occasionally and may request temporary transfers. Do not allow that information to dissuade you, however. Emergency nursing is still one of the most rewarding and highly demanded occupations within the registered nursing arena. There will always be a national demand for qualified ED nurses. Enroll in classes today.