There is no denying the fact that nurses are the backbone of the healthcare system. They are lifesavers who work hard to ensure that all their patients’ needs are catered to. Nursing is also currently America’s fastest-growing profession. The government forecasts the number of registered nurses to increase by approximately 200,000 each year.
People are also no longer stranger to the increasingperks and benefits of becoming a nurse. For one, a nursing career carries immense earning potential. A registered nurse, on average, can earn up to $75,000 annually. The number might seem unrealistic, but it is justifiable given the increasing demand for nurses in various healthcare facilities. Today, nurses also can apply their skills in several practices, including airlines, private facilities, etc. Nurses also have a reasonably flexible schedule. Most employees allow their RNs to choose between working full-time or part-time. It is a trusted and respected career with a significant allowance for professional development and international employability. And most importantly, it is the most personally rewarding profession, with nurses helping others and saving lives daily.
However, the perks you get significantly rely on your specialty, experience, and education as well. Nurses hold different levels of certifications, each of which has a varying requirement. A registered nurse, also referred to as RN, is the most common type of nursing specialty. The responsibilities primarily include assisting doctors and other healthcare staff. Furthermore, people often compare the terms DNP vs NP to know the difference between them. However, in reality, DNP stands for Doctor of Nursing Practice and is a terminal degree for clinical nurses. In contrast, NP stands for nurse practitioner, which is a title for a practicing nurse. Other nursing fields include clinical nurse specialist (CNS), certified nurse-midwife (CNM), and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
However, it is vital to remember that a nurse’s tasks aren’t easy. They require considerable effort and dedication. Below, we have talked about a few roles and responsibilities of nurses in the modern healthcare system.
1. Patient Care
The most obvious, familiar, and known responsibility of almost every nurse is looking after patients. However, you must realize that patient care involves more than just checking up on patients regularly. It consists in making a connection with them, establishing boundaries, and understanding their needs.
As a nurse, you will be responsible for your patient’s physical and psychological needs, preventing illnesses, and treating health conditions. Nurses also observe and monitor patients’ systems and overall conditions to formulate the most effective treatment plan. Nurses are also present throughout a patient’s treatment and act in their best interests. They ensure their patients are adequately looked after and provided with holistic care.
2. Detect Irregularities
As mentioned above, nurses are present throughout a patient’s treatment and recovery. That means there is a higher chance for them to detect any irregularity in the patients’ condition. Such anomalies can include an unexpected side effect to treatment or any symptoms indicating a deeper problem.
It is about time that people understand that nurses’ roles go beyond providing medications. They make patient care decisions continually, make recommendations to senior doctors, and pick up subtle cues for unanticipated concerns.
3. Advocating for Patients
Nurses play an integral role in patient advocacy. They not only help patients make informed decisions, but they also assist in the translation of medical terms and help them thoroughly understand a complex medical process. They ensure that the patients are entirely aware of their signing up and help them make the most ethical decision.
You can say that nurses act as a liaison between the patients and other medical staff. They stand up for their patients, defend their rights, and maintain quality of care. In other words, they become the voice of their patients, especially those who cannot ask questions.Successful patient advocacy leads to higher trust between nurses and their patients. It creates a bond that positively affects the healing process.
Teaching is one nurse’s duty that might surprise most people. Many nurses don’t expect to become teachers when opting for the profession. However, a few years into their career, they begin to realize the cruciality of teaching patients and their families.
Remember, the recovery period leaves a significant impact on a patient’s health. Nurses educate the patients and their families about illnesses, treatment options, aftercare, procedures, symptoms, and so much more. Teaching is vital because people need to know how to look after themselves or their loved ones post-treatment.
For example, many NICU nurses report regularly educating patients about breastfeeding, infant sleep, bathing, medical devices, etc.
5. Recording Medical History
Recording medical history and symptoms fall under the more specific task category. It is also one of the most common roles of nurses across all fields and specialties.
Recoding patient information is vital as it assists in planning future treatment and care. Nurses start by asking patients all relevant questions about their past illnesses, treatments, and aftercare. They also ask about any preventive measures the patients took or irregular symptoms they experienced. All of this information is highly essential in diagnosing a patient.
6. Perform Diagnostic Tests
Another prevalent task assigned to nurses is to perform diagnostic tests. These usually include checking vitals, collecting urine and blood samples. Nurses also do fecal analysis, chest x-rays, pap smears, and perform fetal heart monitoring. They are also responsible for monitoring the results of such diagnostic tests and intervening whenever necessary.
Comparative diagnostic tests are essential because they play a massive role in diagnosing patients and planning for treatments.
The above points make it evident that a nurse’s role goes beyond evaluating patients. And their roles are changing massively, especially since the rise in technology and alterations in the dynamics of healthcare. Now, nurses are taking on more leadership roles and becoming a crucial part of decision-making.
Nursing is undoubtedly a gratifying and satisfying career with several perks and benefits. However, one should not ignore the amount of work and labor it requires. If you think you can face the challenge of fighting a new battle every day, you must opt for the profession.