Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. Currently, there are 3 million nurses employed in the US alone. But it is a broad profession. Like doctors, most nurses can choose between different specialties.
ER nurses and ICU nurses are amongst the most demanded professionals. Both of these specializations require experience, knowledge, and critical thinking skills. However, even though they need the same skill set, they have different roles and responsibilities. Both specialties also have wildly different working environments. The pay scales, goals of care, and workflow are also different for each of them. But one thing is settled; both roles play a significant role in the lives of suffering patients. They also deal with patients with urgent and life-threatening medical conditions.
To get a clearer picture of both careers, we will have a detailed look at each of them.
ICU nurses work in the intensive care unit with highly critical patients. Most of these patients are either on ventilators or life support machines. Changes in their conditions can mean the difference between life and death; hence ICU nurses work in highly structured and well-organized environments. ICU nurses advocate for their patients who decide on behalf of incapacitated patients about their treatment and care. They are often in charge of life-sustaining interventions for critical patients.
Since only limited people are allowed in the ICU, nurses are often responsible for communication between families and healthcare professionals. Therefore, they must ensure organized teamwork.
- WHAT ARE THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES?
ICU nurses must monitor patients closely as even minor changes in their condition can lead to death. They are also in charge of observing how patients react to different treatments and interventions. ICU nurses must keep detailed records of the patient’s condition and document everything regularly. Furthermore, they should know how to handle specialized equipment to improve the services for the patients. Nurses should also be well informed about drug testing and experiments to recommend successful strategies for patient care.
- WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES?
ICU nurses must have post-graduate degrees in nursing. Since nursing is a popular second profession, most ICU nurses prefer to enroll in online courses to gain experience. Formerly, professionals faced may challenge to pursue higher studies, but now e-education has removed all barriers. Most ICU nurses get their master of science in nursing online and then work for two years with critically sick adults for their certification. After they get the relevant experience, they are required to sit for certification exams.
- HOW MUCH DO ICU NURSES EARN?
ICU nurses earn an average of $ 95,000 per annum.
EMERGENCY ROOM NURSES:
ER nurses deal with emergency patients. Most of their patients suffer from a variety of ailments, from trauma to injuries. As ER patients suffer from life-threatening situations, nurses must be quick thinking and focused.
The first thing an ER nurse must do is to stabilize the patients. They must triage them based on observations and experience. ER must be observant. They should also be team players since they must communicate with several healthcare professionals to save patients’ lives.
- WHAT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ER NURSES?
ER nurses need to ensure specialized care of different patient’s debilitating injuries. The first thing ER nurses have to do is triage. It is a strategy to prioritize some patients over others. They have to take vital signs of all incoming patients and give them medications. Sometimes ER nurses might also have to administer life-saving strategies like intubations and CPR. They must also chart their patients’ progress and eventually shift them to other departments after taking them out of danger.
- WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES TO BECOME AN ER NURSE?
Suppose you are planning to become an ER nurse. In that case, the minimum requirement is a four-year associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. ER nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination with a minimum of two-year in-field experience.
- HOW MUCH DO ER NURSES EARN?
On average, ER nurses earn more than $ 89 278 per annum.
HOW DO BOTH PROFESSIONS DIFFER?
ER nurses live and breathe chaos. They have to deal with emergencies; therefore, ER nurses must be steady and cool-minded. ER nurses often have to rely on their gut to make time-critical decisions.
On the other hand, ICU nurses need to follow strict procedures as any subtle changes in conditions that might be life-threatening for their patients.
The goals of both nurses differ. ER nurses are the first point of contact for emergency victims. Therefore they provide emergency medical assistance to stabilize the patient. Their eventual goal is to make the patient well enough to either discharge them or transfer them to other departments. ER nurses must be competent enough to treat patients of all ages with all kinds of ailments.
ICU nurses, however, have different treatment goals. They must treat patients until they get better, no matter how long it takes. ICU nurses treat distinct kinds of patients, depending on their departments.
Another difference is inpatient loads, as they usually deal with more than ten patients per day. Still, ICU nurses might care for one or two patients for days or months.
Nurses are real-life heroes. They have to work under high-stress levels and be compassionate at the same time. While this work might be challenging, it can be quite rewarding as well. Both ICU nurses and ER nurses daily save the lives of countless people. If you choose to work in any of these specialties, remember that your nursing school is the first step for you.