A day on the job for a trauma nurse can be both incredibly stressful and intensely rewarding. Trauma nurses work on the front lines of medicine. They are usually found in emergency rooms or on medical transport units. Every day, they face an almost limitless variety of medical issues, from car accident victims, to accidental poisoning victims, to heart attack patients, to people who have fallen while rock-climbing. These patients can be any age and may not even speak a language that the nurse knows.
The trauma nurse must, often without knowing any medical history for the patient, assess the patient’s condition and quickly work with doctors and surgeons to develop a treatment plan. Many times the patients are in shock, bleeding, or even not breathing. Trauma nurses work as part of a team to stabilize these patients and get them on the road to recovery. Often, the trauma nurse must communicate difficult news to family members.
Because of the nature of the work, RN jobs like these are more stressful than many others. Trauma nurses must be quick-thinking, assertive, decisive under pressure, and able to act independently. Trauma nurses witness tragic situations, but they also have the opportunity to save lives every single day.
Most often, trauma nurses can be found in emergency departments of hospitals. However, they also work in operating rooms, intensive care units, rehabilitation units, surgical floors, and in outpatient facilities. In addition to the traditional work of a trauma nurse, they may also work as educators, researchers, administrators, bedside clinicians, prevention specialists, and more.
Trauma nurses earn an average of $58,000 per year. In order to become a trauma nurse, you must be licensed as a registered nurse and have acquired additional training and experience in the treatment of trauma patients.