Nurses are part of the backbone of the healthcare system in the United States. They provide care for patients, educate and counsel patients and their families, assess health needs, plan interventions to meet those needs, implement nursing treatments plans as directed by a doctor or other qualified provider.
Because of the wide variety of nurses and educational level required, you’ll find the different types of jobs nurses can perform is equally diverse. Let’s take a look at some of the types of jobs nurses can do depending on the type of nurse.
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Types of Jobs for a Registered Nurse
Provide direct care to patients
The most basic job of a registered nurse is to of course provide care to patients. This may include bedside care, wound care, injections and other treatments. Nurses also educate patients on their conditions and what they can do to help get better.
Supervise other nurses
Registered nurses not only provide direct care to patients, but they also supervise licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). This includes assigning duties, overseeing work quality and ensuring patient safety.
Give out medications
RNs can give out medications as prescribed by a doctor. This includes administering oral medications, injections and IV drips.
Manage patient medical records
Nurses are responsible for maintaining accurate and complete patient medical records. This includes recording patient symptoms, treatments and medications.
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Perform medical tests
As the name implies, nurses can also perform various types of medical tests such as urinalysis and electrocardiograms to monitor a patient’s health.
Monitor patient’s blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate, and breathing pattern
Nurses also monitor patient’s vital signs. This helps nurses identify changes in patients’ conditions, such as a concern about the heart rate that could precede a heart attack.
Teach families how to take care of the sick person at home
A registered nurse can educate and instruct patient’s families on how to care for the ill person at home.
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Types of Jobs for a Licensed Practical
Organize activities for hospitalized children
An LPN helps to organize activities including keeping records of patients’ activities, providing diversions for children, and helping with feeding and bathing
Provide basic nursing care
Basic care such as checking vital signs, dressing wounds and helping patients with personal hygiene.
Work with other nurses on a specific medical problem
May serve as a second pair of eyes to determine the best course of treatment for the patient and also to help co-ordinate care for the patient.
Supervise the work of nursing assistants and aides
May schedule shifts, check in patients, and determine needed equipment.
Assess patient’s needs and develop a plan of care
May provide medications, start IVs, conduct physical exams, take blood samples, or help set up patient care areas.
Administer medication, treatments, and procedures as prescribed by a doctor
An LPN is also responsible for administering medications and treatments as prescribed by a doctor. LPNs must provide all necessary information to the appropriate nurses and physicians, and complete and send reports on patient conditions and reactions.
Types of Jobs for a Certified Nursing Assistant
- Assists the RN with rounding on patients
- Prepares treatments and administers prescribed medications to patients in accordance with physician’s orders
- Records vital signs, administration of medications, and other data in charts or patient care reports
- Maintains equipment for cleanliness and sterilization procedures
- Practices infection control measures to help prevent the transmission of diseases through use of gloves, masks, protective gowns or other appropriate devices when entering any patient care area including isolation rooms
Types of Jobs for a Nurse Practitioner
- Document patients’ medical history, illness state, and the treatments given to them
- Perform physical exams of their own on patients
- Administer vaccinations or prescribe antibiotics according to need
- Responsible for giving injections for medication that cannot be swallowed or are too large to swallow
- May also be responsible for performing tests and presenting results to physicians
- May need to leave their normal working hours during an emergency situation, such as a hurricane
- May work together with or under the supervision of another more experienced nurse practitioner or physician:
- Some Nurse Practitioners may also function as a primary care physician in some regions, with full responsibility over the health care of the patient from diagnosis through treatment. In this role they function independently from other medical professionals. However, in many areas there are county laws that restrict Nurse Practitioner’s abilities without a doctor’s collaboration
Types of Jobs for a Nursing Aide
- Assists and supports patients
- Prepares equipment and assists nurses in the cleanliness of the patient care environment
- Changes, bathes, exercises or feeds patients as requested by a nurse
- Keeps records of medications administered to patients
The Bottom Line
Nursing is a career with many different types of jobs that can be found in hospitals, nursing homes or medical clinics. The list provided only scratches the surface of what it means to work as a nurse and should give you an idea about how diverse this profession can be.
So whether you are fresh out of nursing school or have been a nurse for many years, there is always room for growth and new opportunities in the field of nursing.