Nurse Debate: The future of ER nursing

I recently read an article via the ENA NewsLine, The Future of Nursing: A 10,000 foot view, and it really made me think!  The nursing shortage discussion is quite heated with many differing opinions: Is there a shortage of nurses or not? Why can’t new RN’s find much needed med/surg jobs after graduation? What will happen in the future and who will care for us as we age?  How do you staff your ER?

When I started in nursing it was the unwritten rule that a nurse who wanted a critical care or ER job would spend at least a year on the med/surg floor to gain necessary experience and the ability to recognize a sick patient. Only then would they transfer to an ER job. That’s what I did during my early nursing years…how about you?

Later when I became an ER manager, it was more difficult to find qualified candidates. I would consider a new nurse if he/she had worked clinically as an LPN for at least a year in a patient care setting and was otherwise qualified with personality and work behavior.  However I was not always able to find the necessary qualifications, so I looked at creating an internship program in the ER.

With nurses not landing their first jobs in med/surg, or even in a hospital for that matter…what are you going to do in your ER? How are you going to staff your ER with qualified RN’s? How do you grow them or where do you find them?

This will be a continued challenge as we move forward, as many of us will be retiring in the next ten years. There is much to think about and consider on this matter!

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About the Author

Kathy Mace

Kathy Mace, RN, SANE, Performance Optimization Expert Mace is an energetic, problem-solver who specializes in providing consultation and guidance to clients for clinical, operational and financial performance measurement. With years of varied experience as a sexual assault nurse examiner, clinical IT analyst and ED nurse manager, Mace brings a unique perspective to ED departments across the country. Mace’s written contributions can be found on The Informer.

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