Maybe the question is what don’t they do! In general terms you will hear that nurses give care to a range of patients in a healthcare environment. There are a lot of specialties too. Which make it a very exciting career prospect. And, of course, who hasn’t watched Grey’s Anatomy and pictured themselves choosing hospital uniforms. Nurses get to see new live, some bursting into the world, and hold hands as it leave. It is a lot of long hours and a lot of work, but it is a career for life.
What Do Nurses Do?
The routine of a nurse might on paper seem pretty structured. There are a lot of things that need to be taken care of daily. There are strict protocols for taking care of patients, and they always need to coordinate with the doctors and other team members too. Nurses will often be administering medication, as well as adjusting them. Assisting doctors and surgeons in patient care and education are high on the list too. Giving information on lifestyle changes and helping people implement them. It is often the case that a nurse will know more about a patient than the doctor – because they are so hands-on.
A licensed practical nurse will be working under the supervision of a registered nurse and doctors to perform their tasks. There is a broad scope that a licensed practical nurse can take care of. Both injuries and illnesses are covered, although in general, they will take care of stable patients, with predictable conditions and/or less complex needs. They will need to earn a diploma in practical nursing.
An integral part of the medical support system and they shoulder a lot. Administering medication, record keeping, patient monitoring, working with medical teams cover patients, and being with families too. This is a much more hands-on role, and a registered nurse can take care of a patient with complex needs and situations that are unpredictable. They will need to take a nursing program and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
An ACNP is providing very advanced nursing care to patients that are suffering from severe illnesses over a short period of time. You will likely see them in accident and emergency, ambulatory care and other urgent care situations. Heart attacks, shock, respiratory distress and other emergency health situations are often on the books. ACNPs will also be present for post and pre-op care, in rehabilitation programs, and may eventually open their own clinics too.
ACNPs will have a Masters of Science in Nursing which gives them specialist ACNP coursework to become certified in their state or country.
Those are only three nursing titles, and they don’t even come close to covering everything that nurses do. So the next time you hear someone say ‘they/you are just a nurse’ you can rest assured that you do more in your hours than most people manage in a week! So, what do nurses do? They care for people from birth to end of life.