Working in ED with Jess

01 March 2022

Jess is a Registered Nurse (RN) who has been working in the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network’s (NALHN) Emergency Department (ED) at Lyell McEwin Hospital for four years.

According to Jess, working in an ED department was a long-term plan of hers following a student placement as part of her undergraduate degree.

“I really loved my placement in ED and knew it was a career path I was going to pursue,” she said.

Four years after her graduation and having gained experience working across different areas of nursing, she applied for a role in Lyell McEwin Hospital’s ED, and she hasn’t looked back since.

“I love the variety of working in ED, every day is different. We support a diverse range of people, who present with different health conditions. This creates new challenges every day which requires innovative and critical thinking to solve. Something I really enjoy.”

The dynamic team environment also appeals to Jess.

“You get to work very closely with not only your fellow nurses but with doctors and allied health professionals. Together as a multi-disciplinary team we form innovative solutions to provide our patients with the best care possible.”

It’s this close-knit team environment which has seen the ED team at Lyell McEwin Hospital manage the additional pressures placed on the department due to the recent increase of COVID-19 in the local community.

“It was a challenging time with a lot of uncertainty. We didn’t know how it would pan out and we are still dealing with it today. Everyday something new will arise that we haven’t dealt with before, however we are able to manage by supporting one another.”

The team debriefs after shifts, making sure everyone is ok, well supported and encouraging colleagues to speak out if they require any assistance.

“The current climate places additional mental and physical strain on us all, so it’s important that we look after each other.”

Lyell McEwin Hospital’s ED nursing staff is comprised of varying levels of experience. Creating a supportive working environment is critical, especially for those new to the profession or department.

Jess is part of a team of RN’s who are involved in recruiting and supporting new staff to ED, with a goal to support each person to become the best possible ED nurse that they can be.

“We are involved in different projects that all have the shared goal of making sure new staff are well orientated, supported, and that they have the assistance required to help them build their skills and knowledge.”

With a vast range of roles available to nurses in ED, some of these including working in leadership positions, triage, resuscitation teams and working with patients on the floor, a broad range of skills are required.

“As the first point of contact for most patients, it’s our job is to be critical thinkers. We need to collect a history from our patients to help us form a good overall assessment and use our knowledge and skills to assess what services they require in a timely manner.”

According to Jess there is no such thing as a standard day in ED. Your day can go anyway.

“If you enjoy a fast paced and a challenging environment, an ED is a really interesting place to work. It is constantly changing so there is a lot to learn, and it is also really rewarding.”

“If you are considering working in ED, I say have a go – challenge yourself.”

For further information on careers, or current vacancies as a Registered Nurse with NALHN visit: