Working in the Emergency Department at Southwest General Health Center is Allison Tanzer’s, BSN, RN, dream job. She explains what being an ER nurse means to her.
Being an Emergency Room (ER) nurse is both an honor and a privilege. Just being asked to write this for the Year of the Nurse website is an honor in itself. I am proud to say I work in the ER. It is a privilege for me, as I only had a medical/surgical background prior to coming to the ER seven years ago. A manager took a chance on a very eager and young nurse, who wanted the opportunity to work in her dream environment.
Nursing is a passion of mine. I always enjoyed science as a kid and in high school, and I had the opportunity to do a week of shadowing at a local hospital through Ursuline College. I loved it. It really opened my eyes to what I could become, with all the different avenues of nursing. Dreaming of the possibilities was only the beginning. As I have grown as a nurse, I have realized that I was always meant to be a nurse, specifically in the ER. I don’t hesitate. Anxiety doesn’t make me second guess myself, and I trust my gut immensely. I live and breathe being an ER nurse. It doesn’t stop when I leave the hospital, as I always put others first. The same holds true outside of the hospital if someone needs help.
The ER is always what I wanted, ever since the clinical rotation I had in the ER at St Vincent’s while a student at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Unfortunately, when I graduated, entering directly into the ER was not feasible due to a hiring freeze in the area. I was offered one job on a medical/surgical floor at University Hospitals and I would not trade that experience for anything, as it was a great foundation to start my nursing career. Following that, I moved to an orthopedic tele floor closer to home. Then I became certified in ACLS so that should a position in an ER become available, I would be better prepared. Since what I ultimately wanted was the opportunity to work in an ER, I fought very hard to become an accomplished nurse.
Every day in the ER is interesting and new due to the fast paced and ever changing environment. It is an honor to work in the ER and witness the range of emotions for patients and their families. You can see happiness for a couple who was told they were infertile when finding out they are pregnant, to heart wrenching when a loved one unexpectedly dies or gets a terrible prognosis. However, nursing is my calling. If I can make a difference in one person’s life by trusting my skills and instincts from all of my different experiences, that is what is important and makes the nursing profession so amazing. It makes me proud to be an ER nurse. The biggest observation I have made is that miracles do happen. It is not every day that someone has his or her chest cracked and undergoes cardiac massage in the ER to come and visit 6-9 months later with a hernia, as the only complication. The patient came to thank the very people who saved his life. Medicine is an amazing field and it is such an inspiration to see it every day and to be a part of the profession of nursing.
Bottom line, regardless of what your passion is in the nursing field, never give up trying to achieve it. I am one of the lucky ones who does get to say they love their career as an ER nurse and every patient/family interaction helps to shape my life. I’ve furthered my ER passion to include precepting nursing students in their final practicum, which is truly an honor as I get to be a part of their growth and share my passion about the emergency nurse role.