The role of a nurse is incredibly varied, depending on the location and setting that you work in. No matter where a nurse works, though, no two days are the same.
Nurses need to be excellent communicators, they will at any given time be responsible for many different strains of work; from assisting doctors and physicians, speaking with and educating patients, administering patient care, and providing advice to patients and patients’ families, no matter their medical condition.
The job is hard, but it’s incredibly rewarding. If you are considering starting a career within the nursing career, you must get a good understanding of the job by asking what is it like being a nurse?You should do lots of research and become mentally prepared for the tough road ahead.
What Do Nurses Do
As we discussed briefly in the beginning section, the role of a nurse is very varied; they will be wearing many hats throughout the day and may be required to jump between tasks quickly and efficiently. The most important thing a nurse can do, however, is to keep their cool. As well as being a physically and mentally demanding job, nursing can be very emotionally demanding, being able to keep a clear head is a significant asset to any nurse’s career and to their wider team.
Some of the duties that nurses may typically perform can include:
- Setting up and contributing to patient care plans
- Performing diagnostics and analyzing the results
- Patient assessments
- Educating patients and families on at-home care and treatment
- Monitor medical equipment to ensure it is well maintained
- Collaborate and consult with wider teams to provide a holistic approach to patient care
- Administer medication under the supervision of a physician
- Monitor and observe patients
- Record medical details and monitor medical histories
- Work with families to teach them how to manage chronic or acute illness or injuries
While the list is not exhaustive, it must be noted that most nurses work within a team. As well as having more senior doctors and nurses above them, there may be others in the team either assisting or working as part of specialist teams to ensure that patients receive the very best care that the healthcare services can manage.
As well as general practicing nurses, there are many specialisms that nurses decide to take, meaning their work may be less varied on a case by case basis, but more specialized when it comes to the patients they will see.
Nurses can combine specialisms with one or more areas of practice when it makes sense, be that working with specific illnesses and disease (like cancer) or with specific age groups like pediatrics or geriatrics.
Some of the specialisms a nurse may decide to take are:
Cardiovascular – working with patients with particular heart issues or those who have had or require heart surgery for any number of reasons
Neurology – working with patients who have any specific neurological (brain and spinal cord) l issues and complaints.
Rehabilitation – working with patients who require help to recover from either chronic or acute issues. This could include addiction, injury, or chronic medical issues.
Addiction – caring for patients who have specific addictions, be they drugs, alcohol, or other substance abuse.
Neonatal – working with newborns and their families, this could be working within maternity wards for healthy deliveries, but also working within Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), supporting babies and their families who require different levels of care.
Critical Care – usually, critical care nurses work with patients who have acute medical issues. These can be due to sudden severe illness or injury.
Public health nursing – working within the public sector to educate and inform the public on various different health matters such as disease or vaccinations. Public health nursing is quite a broad field and included community outreach and education programs such as screening, blood drives, and immunization clinics.
Nephrology – supporting patients with kidney-related diseases and illnesses, including those why may be in receipt of dialysis and transplants.
Genetics – supporting people with particular genetics related illnesses and diseases such as cystic fibrosis. A genetics nurse will provide treatment plans, screening, and counseling to patients who qualify.
Is nursing a stressful career?
While nursing is certainly a rewarding career, it is well known to be one of the more stressful careers for people to choose. It’s estimated that 10-70% of nurses will report symptoms of stress and burnout during their careers.
It’s important to note here that stress and fatigue are caused by many things. Some people are more susceptible to stress and burnout, and effective management and leadership will play a big part in keeping teams happy and healthy and working to the best of their abilities.
Are Nurses well paid?
As with many career choices, the salary expectations for nursing can be very varied.
Information gathered form Nurse Journal can provide some indication to salary expectations for different fields:
|Nurse Specialism||Registered Nurse Salary Expectation|
|Dialysis Registered Nurse||$66,542|
|Oncology Registered Nurse||$68,160|
|Post-Anesthetic Care Unit Registered Nurse||$65,434|
|Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse||$61,252|
|Travel Registered Nurse||$65,995|
|Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse||$62,688|
Given the details provided above, it’s clear that the median salary for registered nursing of this level is around $60,000 to $70,000, with most salaried falling around the mid $60,000 mark.
If a nurse chooses to specialize in a particular field of study, this can definitely have an impact on salaries, in most circumstances, a specialism can enhance pay for the nurse in question as well as promote better employment opportunities for specialists.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are over 2 million registered nurses working within the USA, working at an average median wage of $34.48 an hour or $71,000 per year.
Nursing is and remains a popular choice of career for many, and in recent years we have seen a surge in specialisms meaning a higher level of patient care can be obtained.
Article Submitted By Community Writer