Nursing is one of the most crucial healthcare professions in the US, with an estimated 4.2 million registered nurses (RNs) today. RNs are the crucial ties that hold together the healthcare journey of their patients while ensuring processes run smoothly in medical facilities. These skilled professionals typically juggle several crucial nursing roles to care for their patients and support other healthcare providers such as doctors and physicians.
For individuals who are beginning their nursing career or considering becoming one, understanding the typical roles of RNs in hospital settings is crucial. This blog explores the nursing duties that these highly skilled professionals accomplish daily.
RNs are trained and authorized to administer medications to patients as part of their nursing practice. This includes oral medications and medications given through various routes such as injections, intravenous (IV) infusions, topical applications, and more. Once a doctor prescribes a medication for a patient, it is the duty of an RN to administer the medication and monitor them for reactions or side effects. They also educate patients on medication use and its potential side effects.
Monitoring vital signals
Nurses are responsible for taking patient vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. These measurements help track the patient’s health status and detect abnormalities. In addition to monitoring vital signs, nurses also educate their patients on vital signs, thus empowering them to play an active role in their health management. This can facilitate better communication and promote early detection of health issues.
Another crucial role of a nurse is to be a caregiver for patients. Nurses help manage the physical needs of hospitalized patients, including assisting with daily living activities such as bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming, and feeding. They also provide physical support and ensure the patient feels comfortable and stays hygienic while at the hospital. RNs also care for injuries or wounds, conduct frequent medical examinations, and report any patient condition changes to other supervisors.
Recording and updating patient information
Accurate and up-to-date patient medical information is crucial for effective communication among healthcare providers. An integral part of nursing duties involves documenting patient assessments, treatments, medication, side effects, and any changes a patient may display. This information is crucial in ensuring continuity of quality care. RNs typically leverage innovative electronic health record (EHR) systems to document patient information such as lab results, nursing assessments, and other relevant data. They also update this information in real-time as the patient’s condition changes or whenever new information becomes available.
Educating patients and families
Patient information is an integral part of the nursing profession. RNs use their medical knowledge, experience, and skills to empower patients and families to actively participate in their own self-care and make informed decisions regarding their health. Some of the crucial topics that nurses delve into include the following.
Information about the condition
Whenever someone is diagnosed with a condition or illness, nurses provide crucial information regarding the condition, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. They explain the nature of the illness, including potential complications and ways to manage symptoms.
Nurses can also educate patients and families about prescribed medications, including the proper dosage, timing, and likely side effects. They may also teach patients steps to administer certain medications such as inhalers or insulin.
RNs can equip patients with self-care techniques and practices that promote healing and manage their condition. This includes wound care, chronic disease management, dietary guidelines, and exercise routines.
Nurses can also educate patients and families about lifestyle changes that promote better health. This can encompass topics such as weight management, healthy eating, and regular exercise.
Nurses play an integral role in advocating for their patients throughout their healthcare journey. They use their position and knowledge of the medical world to ensure patients’ voices are heard and respected. RNs can advocate for the patient’s right to obtain appropriate and timely care, the right to privacy and confidentiality, and the right to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare. Whenever there are ethical dilemmas, these professionals advocate for patients’ best interests while acting as a voice for the patients.
Providing emotional support
RNs also play a critical role in providing emotional support for patients. The healthcare system can be overwhelming for patients, especially when faced with severe conditions or injuries. Nurses listen attentively to patients’ concerns and take steps to provide a safe and non-judgmental environment where patients can freely express their emotions and fears. By actively listening, nurses show empathy and understanding, which can help patients feel heard and validated. Trust is crucial for a patient to feel comfortable sharing their emotions, and nurses establish trust by respecting confidentiality and maintaining open communication.
Becoming a nurse with a bachelor’s degree
For individuals who dream of becoming an RN and are wondering how to become a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree, the good news is there are several ways to build a successful nursing career path. Rockhurst University offers an accelerated BSN program specifically designed for professionals with a bachelor’s degree, allowing them to earn their nursing degree in a shorter timeframe than traditional programs. Here are a few steps to becoming a registered nurse with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.
Choose the right accelerated nursing program
An accelerated nursing program is an educational pathway designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing and wish to pursue a career in nursing. The program is a crucial pathway to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Earn the BSN degree
Once individuals have chosen a nursing program and are accepted, they can work hard to graduate with a BSN in as few as 16 months. This may involve undertaking online coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations.
Pass the NCLEX and get licensed
Once these students have earned their BSN degree, sit the NCLEX exam, and get licensed as a registered nurse in their state, they are now eligible for a nursing position in a hospital, clinic, or community organization.
Nursing enjoys an excellent job outlook
As one of the most trusted professions, RNs’ jobs offer attractive salaries and benefits, career stability, and a sense of personal fulfilment. With research showing nursing careers may grow by as much as 6% in the next decade, it is no wonder that many are interested in pursuing this profession. Nurses’ daily duties may vary depending on location, specialization, and degree of certification. However, understanding the essential roles of an RN can help interested individuals make informed career decisions.