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Emergency room nurse practitioners (ERNPs) provide care to patients experiencing medical emergencies. This specialty typically pays a six-figure salary and provides the satisfaction of knowing that you can help save lives and treat serious injuries and conditions.
ERNPs usually see about 22 patients per day, making it a fast-paced career. If you enjoy working as part of a team and making a major difference, read on for more about ERNPs and their contributions.
Emergency room nurse practitioners must work effectively with other members of the emergency care team, including social workers and healthcare providers, and be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families. Because emotions run high in emergency rooms, ERNPs must remain calm under stress and demonstrate empathy.
Below lists some common responsibilities for ERNPs.
- Assess patients
- Order tests
- Diagnose conditions
- Prescribe treatment in emergency departments
- Educate patients
- Supervise registered nurses (RNs) and other nursing staff
- Collaborate with physicians, surgeons, and specialists
- Ability to make good decisions under pressure
- Stress management
- Strong communication skills
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Why Become an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner
Work as an ERNP isn't for everyone. Like other emergency responders, emergency room nurse practitioners deal with stressful situations, trauma, and people experiencing emotional crises. However, the satisfaction of making a difference and the financial rewards can make the position worth it.
Advantages to Becoming an Emergency Room NP
Satisfaction of making a difference
Camaraderie and team spirit
Disadvantages to Becoming an Emergency Room NP
High scheduling demands and related stress
Higher risk of lawsuits than other specialties
Frustration dealing with non-emergencies
Potential for violence for agitated patients or family members
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How to Become an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner
To become an ERNP, you must earn a graduate degree in nursing (either an MSN or a DNP), pass the board certification, and earn your state license as a nurse practitioner.
Become an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner
Earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree.
Pass the NCLEX exam to receive an RN license.
Earn an MSN degree.
Consider earning an MSN in family nurse practice (FNP). FNPs are preferred in the emergency room because of the diversity in ER patient ages.
Pass the certification exam.
Get NP state licensure.
How Much Do Emergency Room Nurse Practitioners Make?
According to the AANP, the median ERNP compensation is $130,000, including base salary, incentives, and bonuses. Salary.com reports that as of April 2022 the highest-paid 10% make $143,890 or more. While the BLS reports on NPs in general, rather than breaking out emergency room nurse practitioner job outlooks, it projects growth of 52% for NPs between 2020 and 2030.
FAQ: Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner
What is an emergency room nurse practitioner?
Emergency room nurse practitioners have more training than RNs, but less than physicians. They are licensed to assess patients, order medical tests, diagnose conditions, and prescribe treatments.
In emergency rooms, they may focus on treating patients who need nonemergency care, or they may treat patients at all levels of need, depending on volume and staffing.
How long does it take to become an emergency room nurse practitioner?
It takes at least six years of education and typically at least two years of experience to become an emergency room nurse practitioner.
Most ERNPs have a BSN, which takes two years, practice nursing as RNs, and then earn a two-year MSN degree. (Most MSN programs require or at least strongly prefer at least 1-2 years of experience.)
How much do emergency room nurse practitioners make?
ERNPs make a median $130,000 in total compensation, according to the AANP. Emergency care is one of the higher-paying NP specialties, largely because of the higher stress levels, greater likelihood of being sued, and potential for burnout.
What's the difference between an ER nurse and ER nurse practitioner?
ERNPs are authorized to order medical tests, diagnose conditions, and prescribe treatments. They can prescribe medications, including controlled substances. RNs are not authorized to do any of these, but instead they carry out the medical testing and often administer the prescribed treatments.
Resources for Emergency Room Nurse Practitioners
Page last reviewed April 17, 2022
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