Emergency Nurse Practitioner

What Is an Emergency Nurse Practitioner?

Emergency nurse practitioners (ENPs) are advanced practice nurses who work in emergency medicine. These nurses are trained to treat common urgent medical conditions in patients of all ages in collaboration with the attending physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and specialists in the emergency room (ER). ENPs should have strong backgrounds in critical care, acute care, and chronic conditions - and be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment while delivering effective patient-centered interventions. You can often find ENPs working in urgent care facilities, hospital emergency rooms, or freestanding emergency clinics. Depending on the specific state that an ENP is practicing in, they may or may not require physician oversight.

What Are Some Emergency Nurse Practitioner Duties?

Some common duties that emergency nurse practitioners are tasked with are likely to include:

  • Observe, assess, diagnose, and reevaluate the medical condition of patients
  • Admit patients to the hospital
  • Collect comprehensive patient histories
  • Triage the acuity of patients
  • Prescribe medications
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests such as CTs/MRIs, lab tests, urinalysis, cultures, X-rays, ultrasounds, etc.
  • Assess for risk factors and contraindications to treatment
  • Perform physical exams
  • Refer patients to appropriate specialists
  • Educate patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension on the importance of lifestyle changes
  • Perform bedside procedures like intubations, suturing, and central line access
  • Discharge patients from the emergency department

Where Do Emergency Nurse Practitioners Work?

ENPs are employed in settings where urgent and critical care is delivered. This can include:

  • Hospital emergency departments
  • Urgent care facilities
  • Flight nursing onboard aircraft
  • Trauma centers
  • Telephone triage
  • Crisis intervention centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Public health centers
  • Academic & research institutions

How to Become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner

Emergency Nurse Practitioners will need to commit to a graduate education in nursing, and gain valuable experience in critical care and/or trauma. ENP aspirants often choose from the following list of graduate degree programs with emergency nursing specialty foci:

  • Emergency Nurse Practitioner program
  • Family Nurse Practitioner in Emergency Care
  • Family Nurse Practitioner/Emergency subspecialty
  • Family Nurse Practitioner/Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with Emergency Nurse Practitioner subspecialty
  • Trauma, Critical Care, and Emergency Nursing: Mixed Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program
  • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner with Emergency Nurse Practitioner subspecialty

Step 1: Educational Requirements

To become an emergency nurse practitioner, the following educational requirements must be met:

  • Hold a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN pre-licensure exam
  • Hold an active and unrestricted RN license
  • Earn a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), or Ph.D. with specialty foci in acute care, emergency care, etc.

Do Emergency Nurse Practitioners Need an RN Degree?

Yes, not only do emergency nurse practitioners need to hold active and unrestricted RN licenses, but they must also hold graduate degrees in nursing and have at least one of the proper specialty certifications.

Step 2: Required Emergency Nurse Practitioner Certifications/Credentials

There are a few ways individuals can become certified as emergency nurse practitioners:

  • Nurses who are enrolled in graduate degree programs who have chosen the emergency nurse practitioner specialty track can gain certification through their academic institutions once they successfully graduate.
  • The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers an Emergency Nurse Practitioner - Board Certification credential (ENP-BC). It is currently available for renewal only.

Other certifications that could prove to be useful for emergency nurse practitioners include:

  • Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse (CPEN)
  • Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)
  • Certified Transport Registered Nurse (CTRN)
  • Basic Life Support (BLS)
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

Emergency Nurse Practitioner Jobs, Salary & Employment

As per the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), by the year 2030, there will be an expected shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 physicians. In the coming years, emergency nurse practitioners and other advanced practice nurses will play significant roles in filling these gaps.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Emotional and psychological stability, excellent observational and assessment skills, ability to remain calm in stressful situations, compassion, ability to work well under intense pressure, confidence, leadership, teamwork, ability to prioritize, strong computer skills, organizational and management skills
  • Job Outlook - The employment outlook for emergency nurse practitioners is substantially better than the employment outlook for the vast majority of occupational sectors. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists will grow by 31 percent from 2016 to 2026.

What Is the Average Salary of an Emergency Nurse Practitioner?

According to PayScale.com, the average annual salary for emergency nurse practitioners is about $93,880. Crucial factors that will contribute to the earning potential of ENPs are the city and state they're employed in, their education level, their employer, what certifications and credentials they hold, and the amount of clinical experience they have. In addition to their base salaries, ENPs can expect to receive medical insurance coverage along with annual sick leave and/or paid time off. Life insurance and retirement plans are also likely to be available.

How Much Do Emergency Nurse Practitioners Make per Year?

  • $73,000 – $124,000 annually

How Much Do Emergency Nurse Practitioners Make per Hour?

  • $51.99 average hourly wage

Emergency Nurse Practitioner Resources