Emergency room (ER) nurse practitioners provide urgent care to patients in partnership with physicians, RNs, and other healthcare professionals. If you thrive under pressure, work well with others, and want to care for a variety of patients and conditions, this career could be right for you.
This guide to the best emergency room nurse practitioner programs can help you find the perfect school for your career goals and background. We explore top programs, how to apply, and why program accreditation matters.
We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best emergency nurse practitioner programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.
Keep reading to learn more about emergency room nurse practitioner programs, or go straight to our list of the best emergency room nurse practitioner programs.
How Do Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Programs Work?
Emergency room nurse practitioner programs prepare learners to diagnose and treat patients with health crises, including injuries and illnesses. Coursework includes advanced physiology, assessment and diagnosis, treatment of medical emergencies, emergency transportation and care, and the legal and ethical aspects of emergency care.
Students learn about communication with patients and families during emergencies and issues related to violence and violence prevention as part of healthcare. The curriculum also includes caring for patients who come to emergency departments in situations that aren't emergencies, for a variety of reasons.
Assessment courses concentrate on reading X-rays, ECGs, and other scans. Treatment courses include trauma treatment and resuscitation. Emergency nurse practitioner programs also include clinical hours in emergency rooms.
Applying to an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Program
Emergency room nurse practitioner programs require at least one year of experience as an emergency department RN or other trauma care experience. Some schools accept military experience as an equivalent.
Prospective students need a current and unencumbered RN license, at least two references, and an essay with a personal statement. Family nurse practitioner programs with a specialty in emergency care require a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or an associate degree in nursing (ADN) for a bridge option. Post-graduate certificate programs require a master of science in nursing (MSN).
Emergency nursing experience. Some programs require certifications, such as trauma nursing core course, advanced cardiovascular life support, and/or pediatric advanced life support certifications.
Why is Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?
During the program accreditation process, an independent group of practitioners and academics reviews a program to determine if graduates can practice nursing safely. This comprehensive review process includes:
- The currency and completeness of the curriculum
- Faculty and staff backgrounds and qualifications
- Teaching methodology
- Student outcomes, such as national examination pass rates and grades
- School and program policies
- Learning resources, such as labs, library, and technology
While not a guarantee, this thorough review process gives students the reassurance that they are investing their time and money wisely. In addition, accreditation tells employers that applicants have received a quality education.
This guide lists only accredited programs.
Learn More About the Best Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Programs and Schools
#1 Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Programs Online
- Birmingham, AL
- 4 years
- Online + Campus
Samford University's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner with an emergency room nurse practitioner program specialty takes place almost entirely online, with only 2-3 campus visits. Classes are mostly asynchronous, but many include scheduled Zoom sessions.
Students must find their own clinical placement, though Samford has affiliation agreements with clinical sites, especially in the southeastern states. Learners can receive up to 85% of loan forgiveness as part of a nurse faculty loan program.
- Program(s): Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner with emergency nurse practitioner specialty
- Campus: Birmingham, AL
- Type: Private
- Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Tuition: $924 per credit
- Admission Requirements: BSN, 3.0 GPA, current and unencumbered RN license, one undergraduate course in research with a 2.0 or higher, one undergraduate course in health assessment with a 3.0 or higher, three letters of recommendation
- Minimum Time Commitment: 27 months
- On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Percent Online Enrollment
Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Frequently Asked Questions About Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner Programs
What can an ENP do?
Emergency nurse practitioners work primarily in hospitals or stand-alone emergency departments. They also work in jails, military bases, and urgent care clinics. These nurses are licensed to diagnose and treat medical conditions.
What shifts do ER nurses do?
ER nurses work all shifts, typically three 12-hour shifts per week. Depending on the hospital and staffing levels, nurses may work regular shifts (the same times each week) or variable shifts. Overtime work is common for ER nurses.
How do you become an ER nurse?
You must earn at least an RN license to become an ER nurse. Most ERs require additional certifications, such as trauma nursing core, advanced cardiovascular life support, and/or pediatric advanced life support. To become an emergency room nurse practitioner, you must attend a graduate or postgraduate emergency nurse practitioner program and pass board certification examination.
What do ER nurses need to know?
ER nurses need to know how to administer medications and other treatments; assist physicians or nurse practitioners during procedures; monitor patient vitals and perform medical tests; and communicate with the rest of the care team, patients, and family or loved ones. They must remain calm under pressure.