RN Job Description

A Registered Nurse’s Career

People who visit this page, often also visit these pages:

RN Training and Education
RN Salary

RN Job Description

Nurse—Army Medicine (Flickr.com)

Registered nurses are typically the primary contact between patients and the medical world. As such, they make up the largest percentage of the healthcare work force. RNs most often work in hands-on settings, interacting with patients on a daily basis – whether at bedside or in outpatient settings.

Registered nurses will generally have far more contact with patients than physicians will. They will perform patient evaluations, check vital signs, collect blood or other samples, administer medications, and perform various other procedures. They will also be very involved in developing care plans for each patient who comes through the facility, so that each one receives appropriate care both in the hospital and once they are discharged.

The Registered Nurse’s Job Outlook

Registered nurses can expect a steady increase in job opportunities over the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of RNs will grow by 26 percent by the year 2020 – much faster than the average of all other occupations.

There has been a significant increase in focus on preventative care, so people are visiting hospitals more regularly for checkups and consultations. This is especially seen in outpatient care centers, where patients come in for same-day treatment but do not stay the night.

As technology advances, more and more treatments are available in patient care, meaning that procedures which previously could only be done in a hospital can now be done in smaller private offices and clinics. Because of this, RNs are in high demand.

In addition, the aging baby boomer population is living longer than previous generations; however, this means that they have a greater need for health care services. Many also prefer to be treated at home or in private care facilities, and this presents a great demand for RNs to work in these settings.

A Day in the Life of a Registered Nurse

An RN has to hit the ground running nearly every day. From the beginning of her shift till she signs out for the day, it’s busy, busy, busy. But while the work might be stressful, intense and exhausting, few would trade the career for anything different.

It’s an extremely rewarding profession, and the registered nurse gets to work with patients in all kinds of settings and situations. From basic counseling to full-blown emergencies, the RN carries the lives of her patients in her hands – and she regularly sees lives saved or bettered as a result of her labors.

At the beginning of her shift, the registered nurse will report to her station and look over the day’s patient bookings. This will tell her how many patients she will need to see that day and what times to expect them. Though things might change later on, looking over the plan for the day will help her work in an organized and efficient manner.

From there, the RN will begin making her rounds to the patients assigned to her. The first patient she sees might be experiencing a lot of pain due to a recent procedure, so the RN will need to adjust the patient’s medication accordingly, noting her actions on the patient’s records.

Next, she might see a patient who has just been moved out of surgery. The RN will need to make sure all is well with the patient by checking his vital signs and other indicators. She will then make sure that the patient is hooked up to the appropriate monitors and IV’s and is receiving the correct medication and dosage. After seeing to the patient, the RN might need to go out and visit with the patient’s family. She lets them know that all is well and that the surgery was successful.

Her next patient is preparing to be discharged. His procedure went smoothly and he is healing up nicely. The RN talks to the patient about how to take care of himself once he’s out of the hospital. She explains how to self-administer his medications and then discusses potential problems and warning signs he should look out for as he continues healing at home.

After taking a short break, the RN moves on to visit with a patient who underwent surgery a few days ago. She changes his wound dressings, makes sure that his tubes are drained, and that he is as comfortable as possible under the circumstances.

Request Additional Information Here

Next, she meets with another patient and his family about a procedure that is scheduled for the following day. She explains the procedure and makes sure that everyone understands and agrees to proceed.

Her final patient for the day is having serious kidney trouble and needs to go on a dialysis machine. The RN carefully follows the procedures, making sure that no mistakes are made. Then she sits and chats with the patient for a while, making sure that he feels well cared for.

Before she leaves for the day, the RN looks over the next day’s schedule. This gives her an idea of how to prepare for the coming day.

Some Handy Skills

Aside from the technical skills that a registered nurse needs to perform her duties, she also needs to be finely attuned to the individual needs of her patients. The personal touch and emotional support is a vital part of the nursing profession, and the RN must take sufficient time to provide this to her patients.

Along those lines, she will need to be a good communicator, as she will often be the go-between for patients, doctors and other medical personnel. She will need to listen well and be able to express herself clearly and concisely.

She will need to be very well organized, both in managing her patients as well as in gathering information and keeping records. She will need to collect medical history and clinical data accurately and efficiently.

Finally, she’ll need to be a problem solver. Not every situation will be according to the textbook, so she will need to analyze information and choose the best solution for the problem.

Related Resources:

Australian Govt. “Job Outlook” Registered Nurses

Australian Govt. “My Future”

Request Additional Information Here