A trauma nurse is a medical professional who specializes in emergency treatment. These dedicated professionals are often instrumental in assessing the initial condition of an emergency patient and ensuring correct treatment is given. Trauma nurses are highly trained, and may spend years in school learning a wide and varied skill set.
Trauma nurses are often found in locations where emergencies are likely to occur. Many work in hospital emergency rooms or critical care units. In some areas, a trauma nurse may serve with an ambulance crew or be dispatched to help with the transport of patients from remote areas. Many military organizations employee people with a background in trauma nursing to serve as medics with deployed units.
Although a trauma nurse must possess many skills, one of the most important is the ability to asses the severity of a patient's condition. Because many of these medical professionals work in environments where multiple patients are brought in at once, the ability to determine who needs help first is critical to saving lives. In large scale emergencies, such as an earthquake or other disaster, trauma nurses often employ a system known as triage, in which patients are grouped according to level injury. This organizational skill is key to ensuring that doctors deal with patients in critical condition first.
The immediate job of a trauma nurse is typically to stabilize a patient while the patient is waiting for treatment. This may include administering fluids such as blood or saline, monitoring all vital signs, giving initial doses of medication and resuscitating patients who have stopped breathing or lost vital signs. Most trauma nurses specialize in critical or life-threatening cases; their job is often to keep the patient alive until further treatment can occur.
On the battlefield, a medic may serve as a trauma nurse when injuries occur. In addition to providing care, these brave professionals must also be able to quickly assess the surroundings and determine how and when to rescue injured soldiers and civilians. Typically, these nurses receive military training as well as medical training, and often are responsible for keeping fellow soldiers alive throughout a battle or deployment.
Since trauma nurses work primarily with emergency and life-threatening cases, they must be able to remain calm under pressure and have stamina to withstand long hours. Some nurses may work on shifts lasting days with little time for sleep or meals. A trauma nurse that can handle the inherent stress and difficulty of the job is a highly valued person in the medical profession.