How to Become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner? 6 Steps To Your Dream Job

What do you need to become an ENP? 
What do you need to become an ENP? 

An emergency department is where unpredictability happens daily. Many nurse practitioners deem it their beloved workplace, saying that the erratic work routine allows unmatched flexibility to develop and is what keeps them on their toes.

If you can thrive in a hectic, fast-paced environment and love to care for sick, injured people, the high chance is that you’ll blend well into this field. 

How to become an emergency nurse practitioner? This article will help you stay on track and guide you to move forward on the correct road.

Who Are Emergency Nurse Practitioners?

Emergency care is the urgent treatment for unforeseen situations, and ENPs are critical members of the team who provides that treatment.

In particular, they are licensed nurses with specialized degrees qualifying them for assessing, diagnosing, and managing urgent illnesses and injuries that require immediate attention.

They’re trained for curing people of all ages and conditions, whether old or young, chronically ill or healthy.

They can work without supervision, figuring out which patients call for the most urgent care, determining the proper treatment, providing relevant consultation and education, and managing patient conditions.

How to Become an Emergency Nurse Practitioner?

The steps may vary depending on where you’re in your career-chasing journey now, yet for most prospective ENPs, these six steps will seize you a dream job in the emergency nursing domain.

Earn A BSN Degree

Earn A BSN Degree
Earn A BSN Degree

Like any occupation, education is a powerful ‘weapon,’ assisting you in becoming an emergency nurse practitioner. And most ENPs choose the BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree as their companions on this road.

Typical BSN courses include general subjects, like communications, psychology, statistics, literature, and math. You’ll find these classes in almost any bachelor’s program.

Though they are not directly related to medicine or nursing, these courses will help train your problem-solving skills to be better under pressure.

ENPs must think, foresee issues, and act immediately in possibly life-threatening cases. That’s why sharp problem-solving abilities are extremely critical to this job.

A BSN program’s prime focus, of course, will involve various aspects and principles of nursing.

Specialized classes will teach you how to care for and assess all kinds of patients and deal with the most commonplace injuries ENPs usually encounter in the emergency room.

At the same time, other classes provide you with knowledge of pharmacology, different units of measure, and medicines frequently used in this field.

You will also learn about healthcare ethics and law and join classes focusing on enhancing your evidence-based decision-making.

Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam

In most cases, you have to get licensed or become registered before officially working as an ENP, which requires taking the NCLEX-RN exam.

This exam is a computer-adaptive test, and the time and number of questions depend on the number of questions you’ve answered correctly.

The maximum number of questions in an NCLEX-RN exam is usually 265 within the maximum time of six hours. Yet, in some cases, the test may include just 75 questions as the candidate gives correct answers to all the questions.

There are two breaks optionally set at the 3.5-hour and 2-hour mark.

We suggest preparing for the exam through practice exams available online which let you preview the test’s expertise scope and format. Also, practice exams will reveal the focused areas you need to revise before getting down to the real one.

Sharpen Vital Skills

Sharpen Vital Skills
Sharpen Vital Skills

As a professional ENP, besides technical skills and knowledge, you have to show off the following qualities, particularly in urgent situations:

  • Analysis

A unique and imperative part of this job is that you will look into the risk factors that may happen to a patient and assess treatments’ effectiveness. Analytical skills also play a paramount role in triaging patients and reading diagnostic tests.

  • Decision-making

In hurry-up situations, ENPs must make quick and accurate decisions which prioritize patients and should be based on the injuries’ severity and the emergency level.

  • Multitasking

The points when you have to tackle multiple tasks simultaneously to provide many patients with adequate care will come.

Regular tasks you’ll be responsible for are examining patients, categorizing patients by their conditions, scheduling diagnostic tests, interpreting the results, and talking with patients and their families.

  • Teamwork

Teamwork makes things possible. In any organization, those possessing excellent teamwork skills can gain a great advantage and make the workflow smoother.

Not to mention ENPs need to work and communicate with medical teams to ensure the best care for patients.

Pick Up Hands-On Experience

After passing the NCLEX, you will receive a license from your state which allows you to conduct your nursing practice.

Since the NCLEX is a national license, the flexibility is high. You can put your nursing talent into reality just anywhere you wish.

With a license on hand, you’re free to seek out emergency nurse practitioner jobs at intensive-care settings or in hospital emergency rooms. Practical duties during tackling medical emergencies will bring you valuable experience and chances to learn from other expert ENPs.

Get Certified

Get Certified
Get Certified

After completing an MSN program centered on advanced-practice nursing, you’ll be eligible to get certified as a nurse practitioner by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

The AANP offers a certification specifically for emergency nurse practitioners (ENPs), though many emergency nurse practitioners are also licensed as family nurse practitioners (FNPs).

Your overall experience working in emergency-room settings will likely be more important than your specific NP certification.

Nurse practitioner credentials from both the ANCC and the AANP are valid for a full five years before you’ll need to go through the renewal process.

Land Your Dream ENP Job

Congratulations! You have officially become an emergency nurse practitioner.

If you are a new graduate, or have limited nursing and/or nurse practitioner experience, your first few months on the job may be a bit overwhelming. You will have a lot to learn. Embrace the challenge, work hard, and stick with it.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Emergency Nurse Practitioner?

As working in an emergency room can be quite demanding, emergency nurse practitioners Exactly how long does it take to become an emergency nurse practitioner? The answer–approximately 6-8 years.

First, you must complete your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)—which you can complete in a few different ways.

You can complete a traditional 4-year degree or get your associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and then complete an RN-BSN program.

After completing your BSN, I strongly encourage a minimum of one to two years of experience. This experience is optional for most programs, but the knowledge gained will be invaluable to your NP career.

Bottom Line

If you’re fascinated by the scenario of responding to urgent medical circumstances on a daily basis, and a chaotic environment can’t significantly impact your coolness, you’ll find excitement, fulfillment, and lucrativeness in an ENP career.

The steps to becoming an emergency nurse practitioner may take you quite a large time investment, but the career will wine and dine its chaser.

So, ready to kickstart your dream-chasing journey?