Regardless of setting or specialty, nurses are usually involved with the care, treatment and education of patients. Some of the above mentioned jobs involve the community as your patient and education would occur to the community. You will provide emotional support to the patent as well as the patient’s family.
I could write a book about each of the above specialty areas of work describing what you would be doing in each area. You will be able to examine a lot of these areas as you are in school and attend clinicals, observing first hand. Ask questions and observe what the nurse is doing and ask yourself if you would enjoy that type of work. Ask them what special training they needed or was on the job training available….do they hire new graduates to the area? And above all impress the heck out of them so when graduation time comes they will want you!
Some of your general responsibilities as an RN may include but are not limited to: (these will vary based on where you are working):
- Recording medical histories/ investigating symptoms
- Help perform diagnostic tests / exams and analyze results
- Operate medical equipment and machinery
- Administer treatments and medications: i.e.: IV’s, catheters, suctioning, wound care, exercises, blood administration, to name a few.
- Teach patients and families how to manage illnesses/ injuries and home care needs
- Observe and assess the patient/ record and respond accordingly based on findings
- Consult with Physicians and other Healthcare members and coordinate care
- Delegation and supervision of assistive personnel which may include: LPN’s & nurses’ aides
- Maintain the safety of your patient
- Assist with attaining or maintaining or recovering health and quality of life from birth / conception to death
- Work as part of a team/ which includes the patient as a partner
- Help individuals at some of the most difficult times of their lives
- Coaching, working with the patient as a partner in their health care
- Manage critical and rapidly changing conditions: identify the problem or crisis, react and manage the situation until help arrives like the doctor
- Monitor the patient: detect changes in the condition as well as anticipate possible problems with your patient and react accordingly
RN’s create plans of care and modify existing plans. You will hear the term Nursing Process to describe what nurses do. This process includes: Assessment: you will be assessing your patient initially and on-going. You will use this information to decide what is going on, evaluating weakness and strengths and in essence diagnosing them through a nurse’s eye. You will then determine a plan of how to best take care of the patient which may include M.D orders (medications, IV’s, etc.), and nursing interventions , your plan will involve other health care workers ( the team working with the patient), and last you will be evaluating the plan and how things are going, changing and adjusting your plan as necessary.