Top Five Things I Love as an ER Nurse

Original: October 29, 2011

Revised: March 4, 2012


I love being an ER nurse. I got into Nursing because my family wanted me to. I was one of the lucky ones who actually learned to love being a nurse , and to love the profession even after 20 years of ER nursing. Nursing in the USA had given me great financial rewards and had allowed me to help my family at home.

But, I would not have remained as a nurse if I was miserable in this job. So I find it annoying when I read about too many complaints and regrets  about the profession.  Whenever I read anybody bashing Nursing, my first question had always been: “Why stay any longer?”

Some nurses vent their frustrations (understandable) of not finding a job after nursing school and of their righteous indignation of being exploited as “paying” volunteers (total contraindications). Nurses in the Philippines deserve recognition for their service amidst the “horrendous” situations in most of our hospitals.

Some nurses may actually find out that they don’t like being a nurse. That’s fine; that’s perfectly acceptable. Not everyone is suited to be  a nurse. They may be a perfectly decent and compassionate  people, but Nursing may not be for them, period.

But please do us a favor: just leave nursing to those of us who’ve found a niche in whatever field we’re at. Do not enumerate all the reasons of your disillusionment, because by doing so, you are merely mocking the profession that had actually brought happiness and fulfillment to most of us.

Have you finally realized that you’d rather be anyone else but a nurse?  Then, just GO!

You have every right to move on. Take a deep breath and find the strength to uproot yourself and find whatever your heart desires. Follow your non-nursing dreams. Make your choice  and don’t drag down your fellow nurses with your negative vibes.

Life is challenging enough to be working alongside a person who does not share the passion. It is a disservice to the patient if we stay for the wrong reasons. The patients deserve nurses with service in their hearts; who care for them because they love to and not because they love the money or because they were “forced” to. If I were a patient, I would not want a nurse who thinks only of her overtime money and who could care less if I need any pain medication.

We’ve come into the Nursing with our eyes wide open. Our parents must have nudged us with visions of jobs abroad but I doubt it if they promised us a rose garden. Nursing is hard work and entails many sacrifices.  It meant that my life would not be as glamorous like if in show business but I rolled up my sleeves, and got to work. I accepted that the uniform does not pave the way for a life in the limelight, of high fashion and easy money.

For once, I was too brusque to a nurse who whined about all sorts of things. I turned to her, and asked, “Then, why are you still here?”. I realized later that she was burned out, but I just did not want  to be sucked into her miserable existence. The negativity was burning a hole in her personality that it was a torture to have her around.

After all these years as an ER nurse, one would expect a sense of disillusionment, or burn-out. But instead of waning, my passion for emergency nursing is burning in its intensity. When you find the nursing field  that you’ve been looking for, any other department is inconceivable.  And I realized,  it is a double blessing when you enjoy the  work you do. Nurses make a difference.

Here are top five things that I love as an ER nurse:

1. Variety is the spice of life- No two days are the same. There is no such thing as Ground Hog Day. But there are many instances of deja vu. It’s like a different flavored ice cream every day.

A staff nurse has different assignments  and sometimes can be switched to different positions in a single shift.  Every single day is an adventure, sometimes overwhelming but never boring.

You never know what will come through the ambulance doors.  It is when it is too quiet that we scratch our heads and our hearts flutter because surely, something dramatic will come. We should always prepare for the unexpected.  We should always be on our toes; this is not a place for the faint-hearted.

One day, a small dog wandered over to the ER with a splinter on his paw.  Another day, a woman protested too much, “I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat.” Moments later, she squealed and out came a baby.

2. Organized Chaos – The ED is always overcrowded and it is gridlock time. Grand Central Parkway at 5pm. Stretchers next to each other. Any floor nurse who visits the ED would be horrified at what they perceive as a chaotic environment.  An ER nurse knows  that although the activity level is frantic, the staff knows what to do.

And there is organization amidst the din; there is controlled chaos.  The adrenaline rush sustains the nurse as she flies from one patient to another; her focused and determined look means that she’s managing her time as best as she can, so please get out of her @%&*@  way.

3. Interesting Patients/ Funny moments– A nurse will never run out of amusing stories to tell.

After a snow blizzard, EMS transported a patient using a snow sled. An inebriated man pushed his compadre to the ED on a grocery shopping cart and told the nurse stoically, “my friend needs help.”

A trauma patient came in after a motorbike accident with a fractured leg; he was totally covered with tattoos. His eyebrows, nostrils and lips were pierced. His genitals were covered with his brand of art. But when he saw the 14 gauge angiocath, he screamed in fear.

A clergyman came after a freak accident with a cucumber lodged where it doesn’t shine. We keep a running tab on what’s the weirdest thing we found in any body cavity. Such is the life of an ER nurse. We live for the simple pleasures.

4. Inspiring people-

I get inspired by colleagues who lead by example: they spend their vacations on charity missions abroad. They spend their own money to go to Haiti or Guatemala. They come back with appreciation of their ability to touch lives.

And then there’s this nurse who worked cheerfully while struggling with a brain tumor. Her patients never knew that the nurse who comforted them needed comforting herself. But she persevered and gave her patients her very best.

Several of my fellow nurses were stuck inside the hospital when the blizzard rendered all roads impassable; they gamely took care of the patients. Some of us trudged through snow banks that were taller than us just so that we can relieve those who have worked before us. They’re our family.

5. Emotional rewards– It might sound too corny to some, but it is rejuvenating to see that you’ve made a difference.

Let me count the ways:  you correctly triaged a patient with altered mental status as hypoglycemic;  you assisted a battered woman find shelter away from her abusive husband; you monitored your stroke patient’s vital signs and now he thanks you for your help.

You found the time to listen to your elderly patient because you know that what she needed is someone to listen to her and to hold her hands as she waited for her loved ones to visit.

You helped deliver a baby. You were part of the miracle.

We may not always get a Thank You, but when  a patient gets better, that’s good enough for me. That should earn us points in heaven.


I’m counting my blessings. I enjoy my work . I am an ER nurse.



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About Jo Cerrudo 39 Articles
Clinical Nurse Specialist in NYC. On a new journey of discovery. Author, "Nursing Vignettes", published Aug. 2012 (available on Amazon). E-mail: [email protected] Blogs:
  • pinkee bellen

    congratulations!!! a hot-blooded nightingale!!! you are one great nurse in the battalion of nurses that our schools produce nowadays…may we have more like you!!! your likes as the ones our sick need. mabuhay ka!!!

  • shirley

    I like your positive and realistic outlook. I hate being surrounded by whiners, too. Can totally relate with the annoyance when these whiners try to drag everybody down with their negative vibes. I say, “Get out of the fire if you can’t ake the heat.”

    • shirley


  • khamylie

    your so inspired me. thank you ^_^

  • Thank you for your comments.

  • Olive Bautista-Tabor

    Lol! Enjoyed reading your article… Well that’s it, there’s no other profession that covers all the dramas in life but a Nurse. I love being a nurse too! Mabuhay tayong lahat!

    • Patrick

      I once knew a young lady that wanted to be a nurse, she was a caregiver at the time and she had a very kind heart. She helped me when I was overseas and in very dangerous situations in Baghdad. Her name was Olive too. I think her last name was something like Taborlucas or Taborluca, not really sure but I want to thank her profoundly for helping me.

  • this is a very encouraging comment,taliwag sa mga na post previously posted about whose nurses who complain coz, until n
    after graduation and passing the licensure exams are unlucky la pa trabaho, and worst they have to “pay” as volunteer to a hospital in order to have expirience…adding to insult to injury kung natanggap man sa trabaho they are not happy, yes maybe these kind of breed are just those who were forced to take up nursing to gain money to work, unfortunately lang mahanap na work, nursing is a service profession, sacrifice and patience…and hardwork, pinay nurses are considered abroad as world class nurses. yes if u are not happy, please get out from nursing work, find another job where u will be happy.

  • marky boy

    ER is the place to be…I love the A & E department, if i will be transferred to the wards, I might as well quit. ER is the place where your adrenaline rushes through your blood stream while pushing 1mg adrenaline up someone’s veins… hahahha

  • Joaqui RNMAN

    all the things you have said hold truth and sincerity! I am also proud being an ER Nurse, even i am here in the Philippines. It feels really great and humbled. May you continue to represent a staunch and versatile Filipino nurse globally. Make everything worth your while. Kudos! I am proud of you! I am proud of you!

  • Mabalasik

    Thanks for this inspiring article.I am Filipino ER Nurse here in the middle of the desert. Everything you’ve said about being an ER nurse is true. I’m a Proud ER nurse. And I will continue to become a good ER nurse. So to my fellow nurses who keep on complaining about their job. Just Quit your job and go somewhere else.If You’re not happy with the Adrenaline rush try another job that is suitable for you.

    from: 100% pure Blooded trauma nurse!!

  • A very inspiring article… i am also proud to be an ER nurse!

  • Drew

    I can’t imagine working anywhere else in the hospital but ER.. I have been an ER nurse for 10 yrs now and I am enjoying every moment of it. I love taking part in saving lives. Time is of the essence in the ER. You should have critical thinking skills and you should act fast. Every second counts.

  • tony acuna

    i like ,love and enjoy reading the Filipino Nurses blog and it becomes a habit.and i feel sorry to some who regrets and complains about this noble profession.for those who regrets being a nurse,why don’t we swap profession,i will wear your nursing cap and scrub,you wear my safety helmet and safety shoes for a day.if you could last a day at the construction site then there is no reason why you couldn’t learn to love your profession as an ER all the nurses in the world,thank you for your tender loving care esp. the filipino nurses here in the kingdom who assisted me when i was brought to the ER @ King Fahd Hospital in Al Ahsa due to severe chest pain.Guys you saved my life.may God Bless you all for your job well done

  • akosijomar

    Sana e ganito ang lahat ng mentality ng mga tao. But the thing is…kaya lang naman ang author nakapagsalita ng ganyan is naging successful na siya unlike sa ibang tao. Don’t get me wrong. Ang mahalaga e magtulungan. Ang iba nga porket nakalabas na ng bansa akala mo na kung sino. Basta, live with your dreams and follow your heart. Proud to be RN

    • Jo Cerrudo

      Hindi naman pagyayabang kaya ko sinulat ito. It’s about time we post something positive about the nursing profession. Just got tired of reading all the negative articles from those whose hearts are not into nursing. I’m successful because I persevered despite all my earlier trials. So for those who are just starting, my advice is just be patient and stay in nursing if you truly love to serve. If not, then we should think long and hard about it because you (and your patients) will suffer.

    • Marsha

      akosijomar, I agree with Jo. Too many negative nursing articles. I do work here in the States, but I never felt I’m superior to the local ones. I think the point of this article is to follow your dreams, and not to weigh down everybody else if you’re not happy with your career. Nursing is a noble profession, and it’s not fair to a patient to be cared for by somebody who does not care.

  • Zyge

    I love your post. I ‘ve been here in the US since I was 15. I recently graduated and now I am working as an ICU RN; however, I haven’t been floated to ER yet. I am looking forward to it though. I truly enjoy and love my job. Not many people can say that. While sometimes the days are long, but i feel really blessed to do what I do. 🙂

  • Although I am taking on a different field right now, being an ER nurse is really that one dream job I always wanted if I ever I’ll pursue my profession.. It’s true, you’re always on your toes everyday because there is no single day that is the same as the other.. I love your article!

  • Princess

    Hello Ma’am!

    I was searching ways po kung paano maging isang ER nurse and I landed on your site. It’s a great article po – exactly the reasons why I want to become an ER nurse.

    Gusto ko lang po sanang humingi ng advice kung paano po maging isang ER nurse. Ito po kasi ang gusto kong specialization. May inooffer po bang training dito sa Pilipinas? Kung meron po, pwede ko pong malaman kung saan?

    Ito po ang e-mail address ko:

    [email protected]

    I will really appreciate some advice po. Maraming salamat po! 🙂

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