How to Become a Trauma Nurse

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Every day, many people experience physical trauma, which is severe physical injury. Trauma nurses are specially trained registered nurses that provide care to trauma patients that have suffered from many different serious and sometimes life-threatening physical injuries.


Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does a trauma nurse do?

Trauma nurses specialize in emergency care and they focus on serious medical conditions. They typically work in emergency rooms where they stabilize trauma patients to enable them to receive the proper medical treatment for their conditions. They often deal with patients that are seriously injured and in life-or-death situation such as patients involved in car accidents, suicide attempts, and work related injuries. Trauma nurses work diligently to stabilize patients before secondary complications such as shock, respiratory failure, or even death take place. They administer emergency procedures such as CPR, mechanical ventilation, and administering medication.

What kind of training does a trauma nurse need?

Trauma nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor degree program in nursing. Registered nurses typically complete courses in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, nursing practices, ethics, nursing process, risk reduction, and health promotion. They also participate in supervised clinical experiences. Many trauma nurses complete the Trauma Nursing Core Course that is offered by the Emergency Nurses Association. All registered nurses must be licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Many trauma nurses also gain formal certifications such as the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) from the Board of Certification of Emergency Nursing. Trauma nurses must complete regular continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications.

What are the prospects for a career as a trauma nurse?

Employment of all registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing and aging population and increase in emergency situations will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be excellent especially for trauma nurses with extensive experience. Numerous job openings will stem from the need to replace trauma nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do trauma nurses make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for trauma nurses is $60,000; average annual trauma nurse salaries vary greatly on location, industry, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a trauma nurse is a great choice for people with a strong interest in providing care to patients suffering from many different trauma situations. Trauma nurses must be able to work in fast-paced, high-pressure, stressful, and unpredictable environments. They must have a solid understanding of emergency procedures and how to apply them to a variety of situations. Physical stamina, emotional stability, critical thinking, and good problem solving skills are essential characteristics. Trauma nurses must have excellent communication and ability to work as part of a team. They must be quick on their feet and be able to make fast and effective decisions in emergency situations.

Joshua T Osborne

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