Today is Emergency Nurses Day, so Minority Nurse wanted to connect with an emergency department (ED) nurse and find out a little more about this career path.
Martha Saroop MS, RN, CEN, NE-BC, has worked in the United States and in England as an ED nurse. She started out with a different goal in mind, until a colleague’s comment started her down this path. She hasn’t looked back.
How did you get started on a career path as an emergency nurse? How long have you been a nurse?
I started my emergency nursing career at Addenbrookes, Cambridge University Hospital in England. I initially worked on a hepatology (liver transplant) unit. One of my colleagues said to me, “You function like an emergency nurse,” and she suggested that I transfer to the emergency department. The nurse had come to the Hepatology Unit in a supervisory role, but had previously worked in the ED for a number of years. I took her advice and started doing shifts in the ED and absolutely loved it. Sometimes, others see our strengths when we do not. I have been a nurse for 22 years amazing years with 18 years of emergency nursing experience.
What makes your day satisfying as a nurse?
I have always worked in very busy emergency departments including those in Florida, Maryland, and England. We can often forget to show appreciation. What makes my day most satisfying as a nurse is remembering to say a sincere “thank you” to a member of staff and seeing the impact on that person.
It’s important to thank the team generally, but finding that one person who may least expect a personal “thank you” and making it meaningful changes lives.
What did you not expect in this path that you enjoy?
I am currently living and working in England and traveling across Europe. I, however, stay active as a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA). I am also a member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in England. This is a huge benefit as an emergency nurse. Your skills, knowledge and experience are of global value. I now have the opportunity to learn about emergency nursing at an international level, and at the same time, travel and see the world. It is an enriching experience.
What helps you be a better ED nurse?
I can immediately say that my colleagues make me a better ED nurse. Working as an ED nurse has allowed me to work with some of the most knowledgeable and kind nurses and staff you can wish to meet. They are always willing to share their knowledge and ensure safe and the highest quality of patient care. As an emergency nurse, you are never alone. Additionally, my peers recognize that my calm and patient disposition helps me to make better decisions in the often chaotic ED environment, helping me to be a better ED nurse.
What advice would you give to student nurses who are considering this path in nursing?
Stay true to yourself; it is your unique qualities which will make a difference on the team. It is okay to say that you don’t know something. There is a lot to learn. Join your professional organization at the earliest opportunity. You can become a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) as a nursing student at a discounted rate. You will be provided with a rich source of information and support including the new ENA mentorship support.
Plan to get certified early in your career. It identifies you as an expert, having the skills and knowledge to practice in your area of specialty. Most important, remember to relax, you are never alone, you will always be a part of a strong team. Remember, your colleagues are your first-line resource, use them wisely.
As a new nurse in the ED you can be assured, you will be provided with the training, support and guidance to help you to be successful as an emergency nurse. Emergency nursing is a gratifying and fulfilling career.