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Emergency nurses specialize in rapid assessment and treatment when every second counts, particularly during the initial phase of acute illness and trauma. Emergency nurses must tackle diverse tasks with professionalism, efficiency, and above all—caring.

Emergency nursing is a specialty area of the nursing profession like no other. To provide quality patient care for people of all ages, emergency nurses must possess both general and specific knowledge about health care to provide quality patient care for people of all ages. Emergency nurses must be ready to treat a wide variety of illnesses or injury situations, ranging from a sore throat to a heart attack.

There are approximately 90,000 emergency nurses in the US.


  • Patient Care—Emergency nurses care for patients and families in hospital emergency departments, ambulances, helicopters, urgent care centers, cruise ships, sports arenas, industry, government, and anywhere someone may have a medical emergency or where medical advances or injury prevention is a concern.
  • Education—Emergency nurses provide education to the public through programs to promote wellness and prevent injuries, such as alcohol awareness, child passenger safety, gun safety, bicycle and helmet safety, and domestic violence prevention.
  • Leadership and Research—Emergency nurses also may work as administrators, managers, and researchers who work to improve emergency health care.


Because emergency nurses must be prepared to provide patient care for almost any situation they may encounter, specialization is rare. However, common areas of specialization include trauma, pediatrics, geriatrics, and injury prevention.


Emergency nurses are registered nurses. Many emergency nurses acquire additional certifications in the areas of trauma nursing, pediatric nursing, nurse practitioner, and various areas of injury prevention. 

Practice Settings:

Emergency nurses may practice in one or more of the following areas:  

  • Emergency Departments
  • Hospitals
  • Health Care Administration
  • Education
  • Research
  • Urgent Care Centers (Episodic Care Centers)
  • Schools of Nursing/Universities/Colleges
  • EMS/Prehospital Transport
  • Ambulances

  • Helicopters

  • Airplanes

  • Poison Control Centers
  • Telephone Triage
  • Military
  • Medical Equipment, Resources, and Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Crisis Intervention Centers
  • Prisons/Correctional Facilities
  • Research Institutes
  • Government/State EMS Offices/Boards of Nursing
  • Community
  • Cruise Ships
  • Sporting Events and Concerts
  • Camps
  • Special Events
  • Travel Facilities

Salary Range:

The average base salary for RNs is $ 46,782.  


An emergency nurse is a registered nurse with specialized education and experience in caring for emergency patients. Emergency nurses continually update their education to stay informed of the latest trends, issues, and procedures in medicine today.

Many take a special examination that proves their level of knowledge. After successful completion of this exam they are certified in emergency nursing. 

In 2000, reports showed that registered nurses held the following degrees: 
32.7%   Baccalaureate degree
22.6%   Diploma
34.3%   Associates Degree
10.2%   Masters or Doctorate

Emergency Nurses Association

915 Lee Street
Des Plaines, IL 60016-6569
Fax: 847/460-4001
Web site:

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the specialty nursing association serving the emergency nursing profession through research, publications, professional development, and injury prevention. ENA's mission is to provide visionary leadership for emergency nursing and emergency care. ENA is an organization seeking to define the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation, and leadership.  

Board of Certification for Emergency Nurses
915 Lee Street
Des Plaines, IL 60016-6569
Fax: 847/460-2631

Emergency Nurses CARE
205 South Whiting Street
Suite 403
Alexandria, VA 22304
Fax: 703/370-4005

Emergency Nurses CARE (EN CARE) is a not-for-profit organization with more than 6,000 trained emergency health care professionals who volunteer their time in their local communities in 50 states. EN CARE's mission is to reduce preventable injuries and deaths by educating the public to increase awareness and promote healthy lifestyles.

Emergency Nurse Association Foundation
915 Lee Street
Des Plaines, IL 60016-6569
Fax: 847/460-4005

The ENA Foundation (ENAF) is the philanthropic arm of ENA and its affiliates. Through contributions, the ENAF provides support for emergency nursing scholarships,  research, and injury prevention. (Note: Applicants must be members of ENA).

ENA Connection
(—Newsletter with 10 issues yearly

 Journal of Emergency Nursing ( – Bi-monthly journal