If you believe you have a “nursing personality” and can gain any additional necessities throughout the duration of a program, here is a brief overview of what nurses are expected to do by title.
All nurses will be capable and required to do a handful of tasks, no matter what title they have. However, one title may allow a nurse to do an exceptional task that not every nurse can. As a result, certain duties may fall upon other nurses in order to make a nurse with certain training and licensing available to a patient in need.
Any nurse will be capable of doing basic assessments of their patients. They will be able to take vital signs and collect information about the patient that is essential to pass on to other nurses and/or doctors. The duties and titles may vary depending on the environment a nurse is expected to work in. In many situations, CNAs and LNAs will be assisting patients with day-to-day living tasks. They will be responsible for maintaining a patient’s hygiene, wounds if present, diet, and record of all necessary information to assist with the treatment process. Depending on the state and licensure, a LNA may be further responsible for collecting fluid samples, administering medications, and observing the patient’s reaction to the medicines.
Registered nurses are responsible for the same duties, but may be more actively involved in a patient’s treatment. They will be tasked with discussing treatments with the patient, other healthcare providers, and family members in order to conclude what course may be best. While doctors and higher-level nurses may get a final decision with the patient, these discussions rely heavily on the patient monitoring and health status information gathered from the nurses.
RNs may branch out to provide a patient with care. Depending on the environment, the RN may be leading the treatment pathway if immediate care is needed and other staffing such as a doctor is unavailable. RNs will be responsible for medicine administration, but they may handle more complex procedures that revolve around respiratory treatment, digestion, or general organ functionality. Some of these procedures include providing oxygen, utilizing feeding tubes, catheters, or dialysis treatments. They can also complete tests such as MRIs and X-Rays. RNs may be working in a team to provide specialty treatment.
Depending on the specialty department, RNs or APNs may be providing the next level of care for a patient. Each specialty may require more education and/or licensing because of the very specific population of patients that a nurse will be expected to care for. Nurse specialties exist for a wide variety of areas including anesthesia administration, pain management, geriatric services, and pediatric services. In addition to pediatric nursing, there are specialties for midwives and neonatal care. The nursing responsibilities will follow the trend of general care such as monitoring the patient and their treatments. However, these areas of nursing require extensive knowledge in regards to the complex diagnoses and treatments typically seen within the patient population.
With the advanced knowledge that RNs and beyond have, there are job opportunities for management as well. Nurse administrators and researchers are well-trained within the field and draw upon their skills to further advance patient care in the most efficient ways as possible.