News & Trends

What Does a Registered Nurse Do?

A registered nurse is a specialist who administers direct patient care while coordinating the activities of other nurses providing related or specialized care.

The registered nurse also includes counseling and education to patients and their families, employers, the public, other healthcare providers, and students.

In our nation’s healthcare system, it is estimated that one out of every three adults needs nursing care from time to time.

1. Training to Become a Nurse

If you are taking in work in nursing, there are specific qualifications that are needed.

First, you must have a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate. If you are planning to become a registered nurse, it is necessary to attend nursing education programs.

Your first task is to earn your associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Further education is also needed for you to become to be licensed. The next step is to make your registered nurse license through an approved nursing program. Check out this website for more information on online degrees. Once licensed, you are ready to find work as a nurse.

2. The Role Of a Registered Nurse

This article will learn about the different roles that registered nurses can perform and their responsibilities. With that, you should determine if becoming a registered nurse is the right choice for you.

A registered nurse is the lead healthcare provider. They are the experts in the field, with someone on call anywhere from 12-24 hours at any given time. They are accountable for managing care to patients at their bedside or in the hospital setting.

Nurses can enter many different specialties during their careers, which will be covered later in this article.

Registered nurses are responsible for administering care to patients in hospital environments, long-term care facilities, outpatient care centers, and physicians’ offices.

They also implement education and counseling to patients, family members, other healthcare workers, students, and the community. Here are some of the specific day-to-day roles and duties of a nurse:

a. Provide Direct Patient Care

The primary role of a registered nurse is to deliver quality nursing care directly to patients in all types of settings. Without a registered nurse in a hospital setting, chaos would ensue.

In a hospital environment, many different departments work together to provide the necessary care for patients. The nurses are in charge of ensuring that everything is done correctly and a smooth transition from one department to the next.

For example, if a patient is moving discharged from the hospital, it is up to the registered nurse to ensure that all of the required documents have been filled out and signed by all relevant staff members.

In addition, they must conform with insurance companies and physicians’ offices about pending referrals or treatments before discharging patients.

b. Coordinating the Activities of Other Nurses in the Healthcare Setting

Registered nurses are often in charge of overseeing all aspects of their work environment. They are responsible for supervising direct-care nursing staff, supporting staff development, and ensuring accurate patient care documentation.

As registered nurses grow within their careers, they may take on an advanced leadership role, which entails managing other registered nurses or even physician assistants.

c. Education and Counseling

Nurses provide counseling and education to patients, families, other healthcare providers, students, and the community.

Around one-third of registered nurses work part-time or full-time as educators. This gives them the unique opportunity to educate the public on different topics related to their field.

They are often seen educating patients, their families, other healthcare providers, students, and other community members on health matters. This education could include anything from the medications being taken to how to prevent illness in general.

Just about every registered nurse will provide some counseling to patients throughout their career. Depending on their specialty, they may do it at regular visits, or these conversations may be made on an as-needed basis.

Registered nurses are responsible for educating others on health issues related to their specific field of practice.

3. Nursing Specialisms

Modern nursing isn’t just limited to being an assistant to physicians—these days, nursing is a professional career path that can command an incredibly high salary at the top end.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse is $75,330 (Note: this varies depending on your location and hospital/agency that you work for.)

The following list provides a brief description of some of the specialties available to registered nurses:

a. Acute Care

They are in charge of administering care to patients within the hospital setting. Essentially this is what we consider “hospital nursing.” This is one of the most common specialties, and it covers everything from delivering babies to primary wound care.

b. Adult Clinical Practitioner (ACP)

This is someone who has worked in an acute care setting and has moved on to work in a non-hospital environment such as physicians’ offices, long-term care facilities, outpatient care centers, nursing homes, etc.

They have a working knowledge of acute care but have also learned how to work with patients outside of a hospital environment.

c. Community/Home Nursing

This nursing specialty involves caring for patients in their home setting, or any other area considered an extended care facility.

d. Critical Care Nursing

Critical care nurses are responsible for dealing with very sick patients with very complex needs and care. They help ensure that each patient has the knowledge and resources required to treat their condition to prevent further complications.

Compensation for critical care nurses in this specialty includes average base pay of $195,000.00. While you can notice, this is not an easy job to take on because you are constantly on call.

e. Gerontological Nursing

A nurse who specializes in providing care to the elderly is referred to as a gerontologist. They are involved with the care of people who are 65 years of age or older.

This includes providing education to patients about their condition, helping them manage their medications, and helping them remain as independent as possible.

Also shared in gerontological nursing is to provide support or even be a caregiver for family members.

f. Hospice Nursing

Hospice nurses provide care to patients who have a life-limiting illness. This is also referred to as palliative care.

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