The hospital emergency room can be quite a hectic place. During the winter months, this is often elevated by the increased number of accidental injuries. We had the opportunity to speak with Tori Dwyer, RN about what it is like working in the emergency department and what can be done to avoid winter accidents.

Please tell us a little about your experience and how you decided to become an emergency room nurse.

Tori Dwyer, RN
Tori Dwyer, Photographed by Justin Sprague

I have been a registered nurse for almost 8 years. I started out on a medical/surgery unit at Bridgeport Hospital that specialized in Orthopedics, Neurology, and Urology. I loved it there. There was always something new to learn, we always worked as a team, and it really strengthened my communication and clinical skills. After the pandemic started, my unit was safe at first from the horrors many departments were experiencing- as surgical patients were our specialty. However, in the spring of 2020, after exhausting all efforts, my unit became a COVID floor for a little less than two months while surgical patients were treated in another affiliated hospital, as the amount of COVID inpatients in our community demanded it. During that short time, we saw a lot of death, fear, and grief. It was during that brief but chaotic time that I realized I wanted to learn to help those really sick patients more than I ever could with the skill level I presently had. I decided to transfer to the emergency department in March of 2021 to challenge myself more. It’s a decision that I am so thankful I made.

What about your work gives you the most satisfaction?

While being a nurse in the middle of a pandemic has its challenges, it also brings immense satisfaction if your heart is in the right place.

I find the greatest satisfaction in comforting those patients who are coming through the door of the hospital, scared and nervous about what’s to come.

Another perk of being a nurse in the emergency department is watching a patient go from being very sick to them feeling better because of the interventions you did. It doesn’t always happen with every patient, but when it does, it makes all the stress and hard times worth it.

As opposed to elsewhere in the hospital what are some challenges that nurses face in the emergency room?

An emergency department is a unique place in the sense that this is where people first come into contact with hospital employees. It is the first chance for us to make a good impression on them and to make them feel that they will be well taken care of during their stay. With that being said, it can also be very overwhelming at times. Unlike many other hospital departments, we don’t get to choose how many patients come to us and when. They arrive when they do and we must face it and take care of them, even if it’s already very hectic. That is one aspect of the ED I am still getting used to, but it’s definitely making me a more patient nurse.

During the winter months, do you see an influx in a particular type of accident or injury incurred by your patients?

During the winter months, I would say there are definitely more car accidents, particularly when the weather is snowy or the roads are icy. More patients also come in with the flu or pneumonia during the winter months.

Do these accidents typically occur at a specific time?

The prime time for these accidents is during rush hour and the early morning when people are on their way to and from work. Also, on weekends, late nights are a popular time for these accidents to occur.

If you could give one piece of advice that could help people navigate the winter season safely, what would it be?

One piece of advice would be to stay off the roads during a snowy or icy day unless ABSOLUTELY necessary- such as in an emergency! This helps you to not get hurt and it also helps essential workers like me get to work safely as we are still expected to be available for patients.

Pro Tip:   Accidents that involve significant injuries sometimes require the intervention of an emergency room nurse and the services of an injury attorney who can assist in a variety of accident cases. Should you have any questions about your Connecticut accident case, please contact us.