The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists registered nurses as one of the top occupations with the highest growth potential. Registered nurses have a broad scope of practice options and can practice independently through collaboration with all members of the health care team. Their goal is to provide the care needed by each patient as an individual, and to serve as an advocate for the patient in the medical community.
The role of a registered nurse (RN) ranges from direct patient care to case management to establishment of nursing practice standards. An RN requires a broad base of knowledge that is used to assess, devise a plan of care and intervene to promote a positive outcome to a patient’s health situation. RNs use their knowledge to care for others and teach them how to prevent disease or cope with an illness that has already struck.
Professional nursing responsibilities have changed drastically since the days of Florence Nightingale (who was the pioneer of modern nursing). While most states govern the scope of nursing practice within the individual states, it is usually the needs of the patient that drives a nurse’s actions while on the job. The nurses of today are highly respected and invaluable members of the health care team. They bring their own body of knowledge and experience to the health care process. Nurses work in collaboration with physicians and the other members of the health care spectrum.
When providing direct patient care, the RN is responsible for all of the following points of intervention:
Observation of a patient’s signs and symptoms
Assessment of observed signs and symptoms
Accurate recording of signs and symptoms
Patient reactions to treatment
Progress made by the patient under current treatment modalities
Devise a plan of care and intervention to promote a positive outcome
Educate patients and their families in the continued care of the patient after discharge
RN administrative roles in practice can include all of the following:
Developing and managing nursing care plans
Developing quality assurance policies and procedures
Direct supervision of complex nursing care systems
Conducting clinical research
Teaching in nursing programs
Education of families and community groups to improve or maintain overall health in the population
Registered nurses are an essential part of any healthcare team. Therefore, nurses must have a list of skills to be able to perform their duties and meet the standards of being a steward of health. Since they work directly with patients and often act as a mediator between patients, their families, and doctors, they need to have great interpersonal skills, along with medical, and professional skills. Some of their skills include, but are not limited to, the following:
Must be able to clearly convey thoughts and ideas about patient's treatment plans and diagnoses. Must correspond with other medical professionals to ensure patient care.
RNs must be able to handle pressure and the demanding work and long hours that comes with their job title.
Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Registered Nurses on their feet all the time and need to be able to respond quickly to situations as they arise.
Must be able to situate tasks and documents so as not to mix up records or medications.
Must be able to empathize with a patient's pain and difficulties. Need to make people feel comfortable and meet them at their emotional level to humanize themselves since they deal with sensitive issues.
Must be patient with children, the elderly, and other patients, as well as families, to provide proper care.
They must manage the stress and pressure that comes with the position.
Health care facilities are the main employers of nurses. Other sites where RNs are in high demand include home health agencies and public health nurses. RNs in both of these settings travel to their patient’s homes, schools and community centers to perform their duties.
Registered nurse will spend considerable time on their feet, either walking or standing. They need to be able to effectively cope with stress, since nursing involves direct interaction with humans who are suffering, involvement in emergency situations and other pressures.
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