ER Nurse Job Description

Before even thinking about ER Nurse Salary in the USA, if you are considering this career, it is essential to know what this profession is all about. Most of the time ER nurses work in the emergency rooms in hospitals but apart from this they can also work in other places where their primary role is still to respond to emergencies. They are usually the first people to attend to patients facing different conditions as a result of accidents and other conditions that may require urgent medical attention. Due to the nature of their work they are expected to be sharp and have the ability to stay calm since most of the situations that they deal with are tough. And so before you decide to take this as your nurse specialty due to the attractive salary, it is important to understand the nature of the job and what is expected of you. One of the biggest challenges that you are likely to be faced with in this career is that in most cases you will not get time to plan for the intervention because even wasting a minute may mean life or death due to the state of the patients. The nature of the job explains why on average this nurse will earn more than most other registered nurse specialties.



Emergency Room Tasks of an ER Nurse

  • The biggest responsibility of an ER nurse in the emergency room is to identify triage. Triage is a method of prioritizing injuries based on the medical need and in the emergency room the most life-threatening injuries should be dealt with first.
  • A nurse will also be tasked with identifying the medical problem that in this case include the physical tissue wounds and other internal issues that require urgent intervention.
  • In the ER, the nurse is also tasked with documenting the patient’s medical history to aid in further intervention once the emergency is dealt with.
  • Monitoring of the patient’s progress and consulting with the physician in charge is, even more, important in an emergency situations because the condition of the patient is not very stable.
  • The nurse is also tasked with identifying any possible allergies and also whether the patient is under any medication or not.


What Determines What You Earn as an ER Nurse?

Just like for any other nursing careers different factors determine what you make as an emergency room nurse. Whereas the national average salary is currently, about $73,000, some nurses make way much than this while others will also earn less than the average. Knowing the factors that influence the salary that you get is important in your career growth. The following are five things that commonly affect what you earn as an ER nurse.

  • Place of Employment: Contrary to what most people think ER nurses do not just work in hospital emergency rooms. In fact, they work in almost as many places as a regular registered nurse. You can find an emergency nurse in a stadium, cruise ships, crisis intervention centers and also in prisons. Most of these alternative work environments pay much more than hospitals and so if you want to earn a better pay you should consider them.
  • City: There is probably no other country in the world where salaries vary as much from city to city like in the USA. An ER nurse working in a town in California will earn several thousand dollars more than one with the same level of experience but employed in Hawaii.
  • Type of Employment: Contract based jobs for emergency nurses ma,y have shorter employment tenures, but they pay more. On the other hand, permanent jobs provide you with job security, but the salary is often lower than what you would earn from contract work.
  • Experience: This is probably the biggest salary determinant for ER nurses. If you have been in the practice for several years, you will earn more than new graduates. Experience means that you have dealt with several and different emergency situations, and so the hospital is confident that you will bring more value to their organization


Which States Pay the Best ER Nurse Salaries?

  1. New York: New York is probably the best place to work as an emergency room nurse. Apart from having more hospitals than most other states there also many other non-hospital facilities that employ these nurses. This means that finding employment should not be a problem. To make it even a more perfect place to work these nurses earn an average annual salary of $89,000 which is more than almost what they earn in all the other states.
  2. Massachusetts: The ER nurses working in the state of Massachusetts in hospitals and other facilities make an average salary of $89,000 making it the best paying state. This average is also 20% higher than the national average pay for these professionals.
  3. New Jersey: Working as in an emergency room if you are a nurse you will earn an average of $80,000 annually which is not only way much higher than the national average wage but also much better than what nurses in other states are earning.
  4. California: California employs one of the largest numbers of these nursing professionals but even with such high figures the nurses here can expect to earn an average annual salary of $79,000 per year, and this is also 7 % higher than the national average.
  5. North Carolina: If you are planning to look for an ER Nurse job in the beautiful state of North Carolina then it is not such a bad idea. With the right qualifications and some experience, you should expect to earn an average emergency room nurse salary of $79,000 each year. Just like for California it is 7% more than the national average.
  6. Maryland: ER nurses in Maryland earn an annual average of $76,000 annually that is still 3% higher than the national average. And the good thing about Maryland is that there are several employment opportunities and so finding work is easier than in most other states.
  7. Washington: The average emergency room salary in Washington is $76, 000 just like in Maryland and this is a very attractive package for any nurse who wants a well-paying job.

Other Well-Paying Nurse Specialties


  • Nurse Practitioner: There are many types of nurse practitioners, and they are among the best-paid professionals with an average income of $95,000 per year. Although it can be much higher than this for example for anesthetist practitioners, the average is way much more than $100,000 annually.
  • Pediatric Nurse: A pediatric nurse is one of the most common specialties and they also have more employment opportunities than other. The national average income is $65,000 that is 13% higher than postings for other jobs.
  • Nursing Informatics Specialist: On average nursing informatics specialists take home a salary of $87,000 each year. The high pay is an accurate reflection of their important roles in the health sector.
  • Travel Nurse: Apart from giving you the opportunity to travel to different parts of the USA or even globally to help those in need of medical services a traveling nurse career is also well paying with an average income of $67,000 per year.
  • Labor and Delivery Nurse: Working as a nurse to help women bring new life to the world will earn you an average salary of $70,000, and you also benefit from greater opportunities because these nurses are always in demand.
  • NICU Nurse: Caring for babies who are in critical condition is more stressful and emotionally draining than most other nurse jobs and so to compensate them for this, NICU nurse earn an average of $80,000 per year.
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: The average salary for a psychiatric nurse practitioner is $102,000 which makes it one of the best-paying jobs.
  • Nurse Home Administrator: A nurse home manager earns $75,000 annually on average but unlike other types of nurse the salary will be more dependent on the employment type and also the roles that they do as administrators.
  • Nurse Manager: A nurse manager does more managerial tasks than actual nursing and in some hospitals this is a significant role with an enormous salary. However, the national average salary is $67,000.


Tips for Getting a Good ER Nurse Salary

  • If you have enough experience and are well educated, then you can work on contractual terms because they pay much better than permanent employment. You should also not worry about getting contracts since the shortage of nurse’s means that the demand is higher than the supply especially for experienced nurses.
  • Try to look for employment away from the traditional hospital environment because they are several other places that pay ER nurses way much better. Working for emergency response center, humanitarian organizations or in stadiums will earn you a better salary than in a hospital.
  • The third tip is to get as much experience as possible as you can use this to negotiate for a better pay. Hospitals value experienced nurses a lot because they can handle different situations calmly having been through many things in their careers.

Why You Should Choose a Career as an ER Nurse


An emergency nurse career is one of the best paying nursing specialties in the USA. When getting into any profession salary is one of the things that motivate you and so what you earn in this job is much better than what you can get from most other in the US. Apart from the pay, there are also many other benefits that you get working as an ER nurse especially in a hospital setting, for example, you can get sponsorship or tuition reimbursement to pursue masters or doctoral degree. However, there is way much more to this profession than the financial rewards and career growth. When working in an emergency room, you get the opportunity to save someone’s life on a daily basis, and this is very rewarding both emotionally and mentally. Knowing at the end of the day that you have saved countless lives will give you more satisfaction than any amount of money that you get paid to do the job. Although you will not always get to save everybody, every person that you help save makes a big difference.

Job Outlook for ER Nurses


The BLS estimates that work opportunities for registered nurses will grow by close to 20% in the next decade. Emergency room nurses are among the most common types of registered nurses, and so this shows that their demand will continue to rise in the foreseeable future. The need for these nurses in new sectors as more people and organizations continue to see the importance of preparing for emergencies is also going to rise. The ER nurse salary will also increase to respond to the growing demand. Hospitals will have to increase pay to attract the few available caregivers. This merely shows the future is bright for anyone in the emergency room nurse profession.


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