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Eleven Surprising Facts About Trauma, Emergency and Transport Nurses

The 2019 Emergency/Trauma/Transport Nursing Workforce Survey highlights the struggles these health nurses face, their career goals and more.

Emergency, trauma, and transport nurses work in some of the highest-stress situations. But until recently, there wasn’t a comprehensive or detailed description of this crucial workforce.

That’s the goal of the 2019 Emergency/Trauma/Transport Nursing Workforce Survey (ETTS) — which highlights the struggles these health professionals face, their career goals, and more.

Here are some of the most salient findings:

ETT Nurses Are Younger Than the Rest of the Nursing Workforce

The largest proportions of the emergency/trauma/transport nursing workforce are 30 to 39 years old (33.5%), female (78.8%), and white (87.4%).

A Higher Percentage of Men Than the Rest of the Nursing Work

ETT nurses are 78.8% female and 21.1% male, versus 90.9% female and 9.1% male in the 2017 National Nursing Workforce Survey (NNWS) data.

They’re Less Likely To Be Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Roughly 6.4% of ETT respondents said they’re APRNs, whereas 9.9% of nurses in the full NNWS data set are APRNs.

ETT Nurses Feel Prepared To Do Their Job, but Equipment Poses a Challenge

Almost 70% of respondents reported feeling competent, and nearly 10% did not. One-third of ETT nurses 29 and younger and at least one-quarter of all other ages say they don’t have access to all the necessary equipment to perform their job well.

ETT nurses struggle most with stress management, critical thinking, and clinical knowledge.

The following percentages of respondents indicated the following skills are lacking among fellow ETT nurses:

  • Stress management: 63.7%
  • Critical-thinking skills: 52.1%
  • Clinical knowledge and skills: 43.7%
  • Decision-making under pressure: 43%
  • Time management: 40.5%
  • Leadership: 39.8%
  • Mentorship: 39.5%
  • Training on specific equipment: 39.2%
  • Leadership/management training: 38.5%
  • Crisis management training: 33.1%
  • Workplace violence/incivility/bullying education: 30.1%

Roughly 80% of ETT Nurses Work in One of Three Settings

The most common settings overall are ED (59.2%), trauma center (15.5%), and air (rotor wing) transport (6%).

They’re More Likely To Work Full-Time Than Other Nurses

According to NNWS data, 65.3% of all nurses work full time, while 85.4% of emergency/trauma/transport nurses work full time.

They Earn Almost $15,000 More Annually Than the Average Nurse

The median annual salary for emergency/trauma/transport nurses is $77,500, versus $68,000 for just emergency/trauma nurses and $63,000 for all nurses, according to NNWS data.

ETT Nurses Are Generally Satisfied With Their Jobs

When asked about job satisfaction, 67% said they strongly agree or agree that they’re satisfied, and an even higher amount, 86.7%, said they are satisfied with the work. Nearly one-quarter (24.4%) say they frequently think about quitting; over half (54.5%) said they don’t. Transport nurses reported being slightly more satisfied. Almost 13% report no burnout symptoms, half report occasional stress, and 26.7% said they’re burning out. Transport nurses report the lowest levels of burnout.

The Nursing Shortage Will Take Its Toll on the ETT Nursing Workforce

Some 34% of nurses aged 29 and younger and 25.8% of nurses ages 30 to 39 expect to leave the field of emergency nursing within the next four years.

ETT Nurses Have a Substantial Impact on Patient Care

Emergency/trauma/transport nurses’ most important responsibilities include assessing, intervening, evaluating, and communicating regarding patients’ clinical conditions; increasing patient safety and preventing errors; advocating for patients with physicians and management; providing counsel and support to patients and their families; and increasing the quality, speed, and effectiveness of operations.

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