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First Day in the ER, here’s the 411!

It’s Thursday, 4:45 am, my alarm is going crazy! I take a long sigh... If only I could get another hour of sleep (Although I went to bed about 8 pm). I’m currently staying with a relative so it takes about 30 minutes to get to the facility daily. Getting up early is a must.

Fast forward to 5:50 am. I’m dressed, hair and makeup done, even got in a pretty decent breakfast. Car is loaded and warmed up so I hit the road. As soon as I got onto the property, parking was horrendous. Took me 15 minutes just to find anything. It’s 6:40 am and I’m rushing to get up to the ED. Once there, I was LOST you guys. This facility is a maze! Thankfully, everyone is super helpful and got me to my destination swiftly. I clock in, head to the break room to store my things. Taking deep breaths and trying to restore the confidence and positive thoughts I prepared to walk in with.

We were asked to orient in the Adult ER for two days before heading to ER observation. The purpose of this was to give us a feel of the unit since we will be sent here to task when the Obs census is low.

Day One:

My preceptor assigns me two rooms in the treatment area where I would be taking patients, we’ll call them Room A/Room B. Both rooms had admits currently. As I introduce my self for the morning, of course I was blessed with these statements from Room A, “You want me to suffer, you’re not a good nurse. Only a good nurse would get me -pain medication- every 2 hours as needed” (Use your imagination to name the medication, I bet you got it right!) Working med/surg this happens often so don't ever take that personal. I did get a smile and a thank you from Patient A before they were admitted to the floor so I must not be that "mean" nurse he assumed I was. My second person in Room B luckily survived falling asleep and driving into a ditch, almost into the canal, and came out with only a tiny fracture. My last patient in Room A for the day was the sweetest! Extremely heart breaking to hear her diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer after her chief complaint was only a cough with no other medical history. The day went by super fast. Patients in and out. Charting on a new computer system (Epic) actually didn’t slow me down too much. I left feeling like “I can do this!”

Day Two:

Got to work super early, attended the huddle with the day shift and checked my assignment for the day. I was sent to the Adult ER, C side. Everyone calls it the “Poppin’ side”, I learned why very soon. We hit the floor running. I just took whoever I needed to take and helped wherever I needed to help. I honestly can’t recall the number of patients I saw. Starting IV’s, drawing labs, doing full work ups, giving medications, hanging IV piggybacks, directing visitors, etc. Near the end of the day, I was glad to have some type of routine already established. The day flew by so fast. I went through two preceptors in one shift, both AMAZING ER nurses! I’ve learned so much in only 12 hours. As the shift came to a close, my last preceptor says as she signs my time sheet “Welcome! You’re an ER nurse now!”


I may actually be floating to Adult ER to take patients when needed now if the Obs unit is low. Originally I would’ve only been tasking. During travel assignments things can change and you must be prepared. Just remember you were brought here to help them out. I’m thinking as my assignment goes on, I may actually enjoy this change. It’s something different, exciting and keeps me going. Much different from Med Surg but I’m so thankful for this opportunity. I got to see the other side of nursing since we, Med Surg Nurses, have a love/hate relationship with the ER at times. I can actually relate to each now.

Orientation week is over, week 1 starts for me this upcoming Tuesday so I’ll have another update for you all soon.

Until next time!


Chelsea Kouture

The Fabuleux Nurse

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