Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Response to Manton's Emergency Nursing piece in the Imprint (forever ago)

Manton, Ann, PhD, RN, FAAN.  “Emergency Nursing.”  Imprint: The National Student Nurses Association Journal.  January 2004.  23 – 25.


Anne Manton is an associate professor at Fairfield University, as well as past president of the Emergency Nurses Association.  Here, she writes about the job of an emergency nurse, and the pros and cons of this specialty.  I would like to reflect on the five factors she presents for preparation for a career in emergency care:

First, Dr. Manton emphasizes that quick thinking, the ability to prioritize quickly, and flexibly restructure ones day are vital to being an ER nurse.  To an extent, I believe these qualities are important to all nurses, but very much enhanced in the fast-paced environment.  In my own life, I have experience with this in caring for a family including two babies, while thinking in two languages.  Additionally, when I served as network administrator, information security officer, and operations coordinator, I learned quickly how to wear various hats in any given situation.  Obviously, this is not the critical environment of nursing, but I do know that I am able to multitask and prioritize on the go.  I also believe that having a very firm knowledge of the subject matter enables one to prioritize and multitask efficiently.

Secondly, Dr. Manton says that assessment skills, as well as the ability to apply those assessments, are key.  Again, I feel that a thorough knowledge, gained through study and experience, are what enable a nurse to assess correctly and to understand the significance of the information gained.

Thirdly, “[e]mergency nurses need a strong knowledge base in every area of nursing.”  This is especially attractive to me.  Along with my desire to work in a fast-paced environment, I am interested in a complete picture of knowledge in nursing.  And, like in number one, I do think that this knowledge is helpful no matter what area of nursing one is in.  However, it is absolutely vital for an emergency nurse.

Next, Manton stresses the importance of critical thinking and notes that, as opposed to other specialties, many ER patients do not yet have a diagnosis.  This, again, is especially attractive to me.  Of course, it could be very stressful to deal with situations in which there are big unknowns.  However, I have always enjoyed putting pieces of information together, as well as working with a team.  It also seems like a test of knowledge, but under higher stakes than usual.

Finally, “good communication skills are imperative,” says Manton.  I think I excel in this area, and in two languages, at that.


I think often about my desire to be an emergency surgery nurse, and whether that is a dream that I can make into a reality.  I also think about where I want to work before working in the emergency department.  Manton suggests gaining experience in medical/surgical nursing, which suits me just fine as I am dying to get into an OR.  I also wonder if my path does still involve nurse anesthesiology.  This would guarantee OR work – but would be quite a bit different (as all nursing is) in the ER, as well. 

I’m not sure I’ve drawn any conclusions here.

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