Emergency nurses treat individuals who experience injuries or other trauma in emergency situations. They may work in ambulances, helicopters or hospital emergency rooms. Emergency room nursing is a specialty that involves caring for patients of all ages and health problems under busy and noisy conditions. Due to this, it takes special personality traits to be an emergency room nurse and retain the job while enjoying it, according to the Emergency Nurses Association.
1. Can Accelerate Pace as Needed
An emergency room is not always hectic, but the nurses need to be able to crank up their speed when the situation requires it. This involves more than just moving quickly. Emergency room nurses have to be able to think and make decisions quickly in life-or-death situations, because even a fraction of a second makes a difference. This also requires them to be able to look at the current state of a patient and assess what the patient needs or doesn’t need accurately. Treatment must come naturally to them so that they do not need to stop to think about what needs to be done.
2. Remain Calm Amidst Chaos
Chaos can hit an emergency room during holidays or just if there is a big accident in the area, such as a multi-vehicle collision or construction-related incident. The nurses must be able to remain calm during chaotic periods because the conditions of the patients may be very serious. Some patients may be in a state of panic, but emergency room nurses must remain cool-headed so that the patients do not panic even more. Remaining cool and collected could help the patient calm down, which allows the nurses and doctors to do their jobs better.
Emergency room nurses must be organized and able to balance several patients at one time. In some cases, a single nurse will take care of 10 to 20 patients simultaneously. They cannot mix up the patients’ conditions and required treatments, so organization and multitasking is a must. This also requires time-management skills because the nurse cannot leave some of the patients feeling neglected. Additionally, certain patients may need priority treatment over others even if they entered the emergency room first, and a good nurse can prioritize the varying levels of patient need.
4. Agreeable, Extroverted and Open
According to a 2014 survey by researchers at The University of Sydney, agreeableness, extroversion and openness are characteristics that stand out among emergency room nurses compared to the general public. They need the ability to communicate with patients in an honest and direct manner while remaining friendly and sociable. They must also be unbiased so that they look at each patient’s condition objectively. Emergency room nurses require a certain level of social confidence as well and must be able to adapt to change easily and quickly, whether there is a new policy or a critical situation with a patient’s health status that requires immediate attention.
5. Good Coping Skills
Traumatic cases are a likelihood in emergency rooms, so nurses in this department cannot be emotional or linger over patient deaths. If a patient does not survive because the illness or injuries were too serious, the assigned nurse cannot allow the death to have an impact on the care of other patients. Emergency room nurses must remain clear-headed and be able to cope with whatever happens or is happening with patients. This also includes dealing with patients who are cursing, screaming, spitting or yelling. The nurses cannot take that behavior personally and allow it to hurt their feelings.
Emergency room nurses have to care for a range of patients of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds who have varying physical, psychological and social health issues. Having certain personality traits allows them to provide quality treatment and remain cool under pressure.