emergency room nursing jobs

What Are the Hardest Nursing Jobs?

hard nurse jobsWhat are the hardest, or most difficult, nursing jobs? There’s no real way to answer the question, but some factors to consider are: stress, hours, multitasking, responsibilities, and others. You could easily make a case for wound care, military, floor nursing or other specialties. In short, all of them are hard.

We had to focus on two very difficult nursing specialties, so we chose Operating Room Nursing and Emergency Room Trauma Nursing as the hardest jobs. As explained above, you could easily choose other specialties, but we decided to make a choice.

Operating Room Nurse:
Surgery is a corrective health procedure that requires extreme caution and superb skills on the part of the surgeons and the nurses assisting them. An Operating Room Nurse assists surgeons in major or minor surgeries. They manage surgical procedures. They work in hospitals and nursing homes where the surgery facility is. Great responsibility lies with operating room nurses, nurse anesthetists and surgeons. Complicated surgeries could pose a risk to the life of the patient during the operation procedure. All operation room staff including the Operating Room Nurse should perform their duties with extreme caution and alertness.

An Operating Room Nurse may have to work in shifts and at odd hours. They may have to attend emergency cases and prepare for operations at very short notices. It may be expected of them to keep the operation room always ready for emergency operations.

An Operating Room Nurse’s main duty is to:

1) Get a patient ready for the surgery process.

2) Answer patient queries regarding the surgery and prepare them mentally to withstand the rigors of the surgery.

3) Administer required medicines before surgery and note their vital signs.

4) In case of any abnormality is noticed in the patient they will report it to the surgeon to determine whether surgery should performed as scheduled or postponed.

5) Make the operation room ready for the surgery. Arrange all the necessary tools and put them in place. Ensure safety for all personnel and patient in the operating room.

6) Check and make sure that all operation room equipment are in good condition and functioning properly. Any problem with equipment should be reported to technicians and repaired immediately or make stand by equipment available. The operation should take place smoothly.

7) Assist the surgeon and provide the right surgical tools as the surgeon may need them during operation.

8) Work with full cooperation with other operation room staff to ensure smooth operations.

9) Keep checking and monitoring the vital signs of the patient during operation.

10) Take care of the patient. Keep checking and monitoring the vital signs and health condition of the patient after the operation. Administer medicines as prescribed.

11) Inform the patient about restriction of movement and other measures that should be followed.


emergency room nursing jobsEmergency Room Trauma Nurses:

Trauma service takes the nurse off the ward and away from bedside care. This career path deals with patients injuries instead of diseases. By definition, it means injury or shock occurring from an accident or violence. The trauma nurse cares for individuals involved in vehicular accidents, suffering from gunshot wounds, with puncture injuries from knives, caught in fires or dealing with some other traumatic emergency.

This specialized nursing category requires sharp assessment skills and attention to detail. Even a slight change in a patient’s condition might be a critical sign. In a trauma, the nurse works closely with emergency physicians to treat injuries that are potentially life threatening. This requires extensive knowledge of emergency drugs. For example, some treatment protocols are meant to stabilize heart rate and blood pressure. Administration requires expert titration to achieve that goal. A nurse in this field must display skill and good judgment in a fast-paced and stressful environment.

Trauma nurses provide critical care for patients on ventilators, with open wounds and spinal injuries. From broken bones to cardiac assessment, the nurse is in the front line of care for patients who have grave injuries.

Time management is crucial in this job. Along with triage, emergency nurses must quickly ascertain the following information from incoming patients:

1- Identify the medical problem.

2- Document medical history.

3- Check for any allergies and current medications.

4- Obtain height, weight, body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure.

5- Other responsibilities include moving patients, taking blood samples, cleaning and bandaging wounds, administering medications and maintaining proper supplies of medical equipment.

As with other health care professionals, emergency/trauma nurses are expected to comply with protocols, procedures and safety policies of a health care facility. Emotional stability, communication, leadership, sympathy and attention to detail are traits common among successful emergency nurses.


So what do you think about our choices for the two hardest nursing specialties? Would you like to nominate another nursing job as the most difficult?

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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