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Traits and Characteristics of an ED Nurse

Traits and characteristics of an ED nurse Traits and Characteristics of an ED nurse

ED nurses and ICU nurses have many traits in common. Both prefer fast-paced, intense situations and like to be in charge.

But there are a few key differences between the traits and characteristics of an ED nurses and those of their ICU sisters and brothers.

Do you have the traits and characteristics of a successful ED nurse?


Do You Have the Traits and Characteristics of an ED Nurse?

ED Nurses are Flexible

ED nurses function well under pressure. Make that thrive in chaos.

Shifting gears quickly, they can transition from treating a toddler with a bead up her nose to a STEMI to an elderly transfer from a SNF with a UTI.

They don’t require a controlled, structured environment, but rather adapt quickly to rapidly changing conditions.

They tolerate ambivalence and prefer change to stability.

ED Nurses are Tough

ED nurses don’t cry on the job. They’re not seen as overly emotive types. They remain calm while projecting an attentive demeanor.

They are witty, sarcastic, social, and form close ties to their work friends.

ED Are Excellent at Time Management

ED nurses have excellent time management skills because they RACE from pod to pod, and front to back. They efficiently discharge, admit, transfer, treat and triage in high speed.

They have the ability to manage several emergent patient situations at once.

ED Nurses: Not Detail Oriented

They prefer broad to deep. An ED nurse will not read the H&P or look back to previous encounters to delve into patient history.

They abhor doing a lot of paper work or  laboriously admitting a patient with all the required regulatory questions and repetition.

But they can treat babies to teens to aging boomers with competence and confidence.

They don’t get bogged down and are not interested in non-presenting patient complaints. They are passionate about administering immediate care.


traits of an ED nurse

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ED Nurses are Decisive

ED nurses make instant decisions, react quickly, and think fast on their feet. Often they do this with minimal information.

Should they see the 58 year old male clutching his chest or the 24 year old doubling over with cramps or the 18 year old with hand wrapped with dripping bloody gauze first?

Experts at triage, they are capable of performing thirty second focused assessments.

ED Nurses Are Adrenaline Junkies

ED nurses are self-proclaimed junkies. They love the rush they get from true emergencies- a STEMI, a code, a GSW…and never knowing what’s rolling in n

They thrive on change, and preferably change with an element of risk or harm. ED nurses need high stimulation, charged action, and immediate results.

ED Nurses are Physical/Kinesthetic

They’re physical, always moving, and cannot tolerate sitting for a shift.

ED Nurses are High in Common Sense

ED nurses score high in common sense and street smarts traits. That makes them very practical minded and sensible.

They are not easily conned, and they spot maligners a mile away.

Does this sound like you? Or maybe you should check to see if you might have the traits and characteristics of an ICU nurse?


Top Certifications for New Grad Nurses

Until next time friend,

Nurse Beth

Come visit me at Ask Nurse Beth career column at for all kinds of  entertaining and informative career questions and answers, and to submit your own question :) 

About Beth Hawkes (146 Articles)
Nice to meet you! I'm a Nursing Professional Development Specialist in acute care, a writer, speaker and career columnist.

5 Comments on Traits and Characteristics of an ED Nurse

  1. 100% me! I have been an ER/trauma nurse for 8 years. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else

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