Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare system, providing care and support to patients of all ages. They are often the first point of contact for patients and play an important role in promoting health and preventing disease. In addition to providing direct patient care, nurses educate patients and their families about various health conditions and help them make informed decisions about their care.
Generally, nurses work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and nursing homes. They may also provide home health care or work in public health settings. Nurses must be licensed to practice and complete a rigorous education and training program.
Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient care, training, and scope of practice. Nurses practice in many specialties with differing levels of prescription authority. Many nurses provide care within the ordering scope of physicians, and this traditional role has come to define the profession. However, nurse practitioners are permitted by most jurisdictions to practice independently in a variety of settings.
So, what do nurses do?
Well, there’s no definite answer regarding what nurses do—especially when you consider how wide the field is. However, the key unifying thing in every role nurses play is the drive, passion, and skill needed to become a nurse. With that said, let’s look at the common things nurses do.
Providing direct patient care
This is, of course, the most common and visible role that nurses play. Nurses are the ones who are usually at the bedside of patients, providing them with hands-on care. This may involve taking vital signs, administering medications, and performing tests, among other things.
In many cases, nurses are also responsible for providing emotional support to patients and their families. This is a vital role, as the stress of dealing with a serious illness can be overwhelming. Nurses provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, and they help patients and families deal with the challenges of a difficult situation.
Educating patients and their families
As we mentioned, nurses play an important role in promoting health and preventing disease. One of the ways they do this is by educating patients and their families about various health conditions and helping them make informed decisions about their care. For example, nurses may educate patients about managing their diabetes or what to expect during labor and delivery. They may also guide healthy lifestyle choices, such as how to eat a nutritious diet or quit smoking.
In addition to providing individualized education to patients, nurses also play a role in developing and implementing community health education programs. These programs may raise awareness about a particular health issue or promote healthy behaviors among a specific population. For example, a community health education program might reduce the incidence of obesity in children or the number of people who smoke cigarettes.
Nurses also play an important role in coordinating care for patients. This may involve working with other health care team members, such as physicians, pharmacists, and social workers, to ensure that patients receive comprehensive care. In some cases, nurses may also be responsible for coordinating care among different health care providers, such as when patients receive care from a primary care physician and a specialist.
According to the USA international nursing jobs agency, Connetics USA, nurses also play a role in coordinating care between the health care system and other systems in which patients may be involved, such as the education and social service systems. For example, nurses may work with school officials to develop plans for managing the health needs of students with chronic illnesses. They may also work with social service agencies to coordinate resources for patients with financial or transportation problems that make it difficult for them to access needed health care services.
Conducting research is another important role that nurses play in the healthcare system. Research helps us understand more about the nurse’s role in providing care and how to improve patients’ quality of care. Nurses may be involved in research in various ways, such as conducting studies, developing new interventions, and evaluating existing programs.
In addition, nurses do help in translating research findings into practice. In other words, they work to ensure that the latest evidence-based guidelines are being used to guide decision-making and care delivery in clinical settings. This is important because it helps ensure that patients receive high-quality care based on the best available evidence.
Serving as patient advocates
Nurses do serve as patient advocates, which means they work to protect patients’ rights and ensure that they receive the best possible care. Patient advocacy can take many forms, but some common examples include ensuring that patients have access to needed health care services and providing support to patients and their families during times of illness.
Nurses also play an important role in shaping health policy. By serving on boards and committees, testifying before legislatures, and participating in other activities, nurses can help shape the policies that affect the delivery of health care services. In addition, nurses can use their voices to raise awareness about important issues affecting the healthcare system, such as patient safety or access to care.
This is another important role that nurses play in the healthcare system. Nurses may serve as leaders of hospitals, clinics, and other health care organizations. They may also be involved in leading change within the healthcare system, such as by working to implement new policies or protocols. In addition, nurses may provide leadership within the profession by serving as mentors or role models for other nurses.
By filling all of these roles, nurses play a vital role in ensuring that patients receive high-quality care and that the health care system runs smoothly. Without nurses, the delivery of health care would be impossible.