Trauma Nurse

How to Become a Trauma Nurse
Trauma Nurse Job Duties
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Trauma Nurse
Trauma Nurse Salaries
Influential Professionals in the Trauma Nurse Field
Leading Organizations for Trauma Nurses
Top Cities for Trauma Nurse Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Trauma Nurse

Trauma nurses carry enormous responsibility in high-stress environments and need to be of a very strong character. Trauma nursing is a very demanding occupation, often requiring long hours, patience and a genuine concern for a patients' wellbeing. Trauma nurses are required to always stay calm in crisis situations and not get emotionally involved in their duties. Other requirements include great decision making, communication, and stress management, interpersonal and motivational skills. You can only become a trauma nurse if you are already a registered nurse.

To become a registered nurse you can follow one of three paths: a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN), an Associate Degree in Nursing (AND) or a Diploma. These programs are offered by most tertiary educational institutions and will generally take about four years to complete. Shorter courses of two or three years are also available.

Having any of these qualifications is a good starting block for your career as a trauma nurse, although the BSN is the preferred program and the one recommended by most nursing institutions. Prospective trauma nurses are expected to get some experience in the nursing industry as well as undertake a trauma nursing course on top of their nursing qualification. When entering into a trauma nurse course the student is expected to have a good knowledge of the nursing field and to be familiar with emergency equipments.

Some experience in an emergency care unit of a hospital and a good understanding of critical care terminology is also recommended before entering into such a course. Experience with ventilators, cardiac monitoring, pain management and operative care is also highly recommended. There are many trauma nursing courses available, a core course will take about 20 hours to complete. This course is designed to provide the student with cognitive knowledge and psychomotor skills. Some institutions offer in-house programs where students can train in a hospital while studying. Others offer distance learning courses.

What does a Trauma Nurse do?

Trauma nurses are employed by acute-care and specialty hospitals where they attend to emergency situations. They might be based in a hospital, on mobile units or even in an airborne response unit. It requires the fastest response times possible in attending to a wide variety of injuries, from the critical to the less serious. The trauma nurse is responsible for assessing and stabilizing patients with minimum information available. They handle medical emergencies with injuries caused by car accidents, drowning, poison, fire and natural incidents like an earthquake.

These incidents happen without warning and trauma nurses have almost no time to prepare. Due to the nature of these incidents, trauma nurses are often flooded with a large number of seriously injured patients and therefore need to make accurate assessments in the shortest time possible. They often have to deal with language and cultural barriers and have to build strong relationships in which maximum trust must be gained in a very short timeframe.

As you can imagine, being constantly surrounded by high pressured, stressful and traumatic situations can become a challenge for many trauma nurses as the emotional element of this role is very intensive. Trauma nurses often have to deal with people in a state of shock or grief and the emotional stresses on them can be overwhelming.

Trauma nurses are often the first person to attend to a new emergency patient and decisions must be made speedily and with absolute accuracy. They must monitor emergency patients and inform the doctors as to the status of the patient, the nature of the injuries being suffered and alert him to anything that might help him save the patient's life. This includes preparing any equipment that might be needed by the doctor, ensuring that he can work as efficiently as possible. Medical technologies are advancing so rapidly and so trauma nurses are required to continuously attend courses in order to stay up to date with new developments and medical advances.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Trauma Nurse?

As with other types of Nursing careers a Nurse must be attentive, observant and creative. Being a Nurse and especially a Trauma Nurse, you can often be put into life-and-death situations. Your ability to remain calm, assess the situation and potentially speak with family members in an affable manner can ease any distress.

Most of all, you need to be caring. You need to care about every patient you see.

How much do Trauma Nurses make?

Trauma nurses generally earn considerably more that regular nurses with a median salary in the United States of $57 000 whereas general nurses earn $49 000. Trauma nursing salaries can vary greatly depending on location, experience and company. Some employers offer additional benefits like flexible hours, child care, financial support for studies and bonuses. There are also opportunities to be promoted to Trauma Nurse Coordinator or to become to Director of Nurses for a trauma unit, both of which offer much larger salary packages.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Trauma nursing is certainly not a glamorous job and, because it is a supportive role as opposed to a leadership role, nurses are very seldom in the limelight and receive little recognition for the hard work they do.

Although most organizations or companies take the opinions and suggestions of trauma nurses very serious in decision making processes, very few trauma nurses are recognized as influential individuals. There are however many great trauma nursing organizations and the people that stand at the head of these organizations have a great influence over many aspects of the nursing industry.

They influence decisions regarding legislation and assist authorities with the development and maintenance of trauma systems. The biggest of these organizations is the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) and the executive director is Sarah Clements.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The STN is an international non-profit organization that assists nurses with careers, manage publications and have interest groups for the trauma nursing sector. They also assist by means of educational programs and mentoring to ensure the professional development of trauma nurses.

Another organization that carries weight, especially in the advance education of nurses, is the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). They have a large member base and have several publications of which the 'Journal of Emergency Nursing' is the flagship. The focus is on continuous educational programs with the mission to advocate for patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing practice.

What are the top cities for Trauma Nurse jobs?

Trauma nurses are sought after by many hospitals and medical centers with many positions available in almost every state. The top five cities offering the most trauma nursing positions are Dallas, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Orlando and New York.

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