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A&E nurse


Would you like to know more about what it’s like to work as a nurse in a hospital emergency department? Watch this video with Sarah Curr, an A&E nurse and clinical teacher at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing & Midwifery, to discover what it’s like to work in this area.

What do A&E nurses do?

A&E nurses work in emergency departments in hospitals and are often the first point of contact for patients after they enter the hospital setting. In this highly pressured role, nurses see patients suffering from a variety of different conditions, often in a critical or highly anxious state.

Generally an A&E nurse’s first task is to assess the patient by talking to them about what happened and taking their vital signs such as blood pressure and temperature. Once the nurse has established what is wrong, they can make sure the patient is directed to the right place to get the best possible care.

Throughout the patient’s stay in the emergency department, the nurse will care for them and help them feel more relaxed and comfortable until they are ready to be sent to another ward or discharged.

When I’m looking after patients I explain to them what’s happening at every stage, so it’s not as scary. The most rewarding thing is seeing them getting better.'

Sarah Curr, A&E Nurse



To become a nurse you need to study a nursing degree like the three-year undergraduate nursing course (BSc).

There are many different specialisms you can study, such as Adult Nursing, Child Nursing and Mental Health Nursing. Most courses, such as the ones offered by King’s College London, will include a strong element of practice where you will gain first-hand experience of working with patients.

In terms of skills, it’s essential to have good interpersonal skills, both to be able to read other people’s behaviour and to be able to reassure them in stressful situations. It’s also important to be flexible, adaptable and able to respond quickly to any difficult situation which may arise.

Career opportunities

 Nurses working in a hospital setting such as A&E can build a strong career path and move into management, specialist roles or training posts if they wish to do so. They can also use this valuable experience to work as a nurse in many other settings including:

  • Other hospital environments such as a general medical or surgical ward or a specialist area such as coronary care or urology.
  • Working as a nurse at festivals or public events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
  • Private enterprises such as cruise ships.
  • Humanitarian or overseas work for organisations such as the International Red Cross.

Find out more


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