Everything You Need to Know About the Emergency Room: Advice from an ER Nurse

In this video, ER nurse Nicole Alvarez shares important tips for a smooth experience in the emergency room. She advises bringing a comprehensive list of medications and allergies. Additionally, she suggests bringing a phone charger, headphones, and a book to help pass the often lengthy wait times. Nurse Nicole also discusses the protocols for treating patients with overdoses, including the administration of Narcan for opioid-related cases. Lastly, she highlights the dangers of viral internet challenges, emphasizing that they can lead to serious injuries and trips to the ER.

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Key Insights:

  • When going to the emergency room, it’s important to bring a full list of medications, including the name, dosage, and frequency of intake.
  • Having a list of allergies is crucial for the medical staff to know before administering any medication or treatment.
  • Bringing a phone charger is recommended for entertainment purposes during the potentially long wait times in the emergency room.
  • Headphones are also suggested to prevent disturbing other patients in the ER.
  • Having a book or something to pass the time is a good idea as waiting for various tests and results can take a while.
  • In cases of overdose, there are different approaches depending on whether the patient is conscious or unconscious.
  • If the patient is unconscious, medical professionals rely on certain symptoms to determine the possible drug taken and administer appropriate treatment.
  • If the patient is conscious and can provide information, healthcare providers assess the airway, breathing, and circulation (ABC) for immediate care.
  • Participating in viral internet challenges, such as bouncing a beer off a basketball and catching it, can lead to injuries and visits to the ER.
  • Medical experts recommend subscribing to health channels and seeking advice from medical professionals for pressing health concerns.


„What’s up everybody, we’re talking everything you need to know when it comes to the emergency room. That’s right, this is ER Nurse Nicole Alvarez, a registered nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. How long have you been a nurse, young lady?“
„I have been a registered nurse for almost three years now. I’ve worked at Lenox Hill Hospital from the start of my career. I went to NYU College of Nursing. Excuse me, z-formation. My original inspiration came from my dad. He’s a New York City firefighter, so I always wanted to do something that would help other people. That’s why I went into nursing.“
„Okay, internet, let’s see what’s on your mind. First up, we have a question from Instagram. They want to know what you should remember to bring if you have to go to the emergency room.“
„So, I would say the most important thing is going to be a full list of your medications. You want the name of the medication, the dosage, and how often you take it. Because you want the folks to know what’s going on so that they don’t mix you with something else. A lot of times, people will be like, ‚Oh, I take a blood pressure medication,‘ but there are lots of blood pressure medications. So, it’s important to know which one.“
„Also, you want a full list of your allergies. It’s very important that we know what you’re allergic to before we can give you anything. And then there are some things that a lot of people don’t really think about. A phone charger, for sure. I need my Twitter. I need to be able to scroll. So, I need to have my phone charger. And a pair of headphones. You don’t want to disturb the folks. We’re in the ER, right? You don’t want to get all the folks nervous. And one other thing that I sometimes recommend is for people to bring a book.“
„Why am I bringing a book? Ain’t nobody got time to be up in there! And yeah, we’re gonna be in there a long time. What’s happening?“
„A lot of times people don’t realize when you’re coming to the emergency room, you’re getting blood work, you’re getting CAT scans, you’re getting ultrasounds. All these things take time. And every time we send a blood sample, every time you get a radiology scan, you’re going to be waiting for the results. So, blood work takes about usually an hour to an hour and a half to come back. So, a lot of time in the emergency room is spent just waiting. Alright, so I guess I’ll bring my juicy romance novel, right?“
„Okay, so I’ve actually been to the ER twice. I had a PE twice. Yes, girl, I’m still here! I’m still here! Listen people, we all want flowers, alright? We just need you to bring the meds and we need you to bring the charger and we need you to bring the headphones. That’s all we need.“
„Our next question comes from someone on Twitter who wants to know what happens when someone comes in with an overdose.“
„When someone comes in with an overdose, there’s usually two different pathways that we’re looking at. So, we’re looking at someone that’s unconscious and someone that’s conscious. Again, we’re hopeful that there’s someone with them that can give us a little bit of information. But a lot of times, EMS comes in, the patient is unconscious, and we don’t really know anything. We don’t know what they took, we don’t know if they have any past medical history, nothing. So, there are certain things we can look for that indicate what drug they could have taken.“
„For instance, if the person’s pupils are constricted or their respiratory drive is diminished, that kind of gives us a feeling that it might be an opioid. So, there’s a medication that we can give that reverses the effects of opioids, and it’s called Narcan. Narcan, I’ve heard that so many times on TV shows. Okay, it’s a great reversal agent that we can give, and it pretty much works instantly to reverse the effects of opioids and it actually will wake the person up right away. So, thank you for giving us the unconscious. Can you give us the conscious?“
„When someone comes in with a conscious overdose, again, this could be an overdose of just their regular medication. If you take too much of your blood pressure medication, you’re gonna have adverse reactions. So, when someone comes in and they can tell us what they took, it’s very helpful. We just follow the ABCs of emergency medicine. A stands for airway, B stands for breathing, and C stands for circulation. So, when we’re talking about A for airway, we want to make sure that it’s not obstructed and that they’re able to get oxygen in and out. B stands for breathing. So, just because your airway isn’t obstructed doesn’t necessarily mean the lungs are doing what they need to do. So, we’re making sure that you’re breathing. And then C for circulation stands for your blood is going where it needs to go.“
„Now, this next topic has to do with viral internet challenges. We all know they’re terrible. I mean, have you heard of something called the basketball beer or the beer basketball challenge? Can you, what is this?“
„They’re trying to bounce the beer off the basketball and then catch the beer. However, oh my goodness, why would she do that? Well, this is what usually happens instead. It’s sending people to the ER, right? So, anytime anyone gets hit in the face with anything, you run the risk of getting a laceration or it hitting you in the eye. You see my face? So, if you’re thinking of doing it for the gram, how about yourself? Nicole has other emergencies to deal with like cockroaches coming out the ears. Okay, now I’m itching again. I’m itching, Nick!“

„Nicole, this is your fault. Comment below with your pressing health questions, and of course, hit subscribe here to the health channel to get more answers from medical experts on the questions you want to know, including another episode with Nurse Nicole. We appreciate you for everything. Thank you, you’re so welcome. Now, what’s going on with this foot right here? Let’s take a look.“