What Is A Nurse?
A nurse is a person who has received specific training to care for those who are ill or who have been injured and contribute to the betterment of their heath through applied medical knowledge and skills. A nurse is also a person who either directly provides care to patients or supervises others who provide care. So, what does it take to be a nurse, beside the nursing degree?
According to the American Nursing Association’s social policy statement (2003), “Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.”
Nurses usually work in a highly demanding environment that requires manual dexterity, physical stamina, communication skills, organizational and management skills and exhibit great attention to detail. Compassion is also an attribute vital to the noble profession of nursing and a successful career as a nurse.
Many basic health care tasks, such as bathing patients, can be performed by nursing assistants or home health aides. However, more advanced tasks such as administering shots, ordering medication, implementing therapy plans, etc., must be performed by nurses.
Administering medication, handling syringes and giving patients injections requires a steady hand and a confident touch. Many nurses spend hours on their feet, and are often required to move patients or equipment. Thus, they need to have the physical stamina to complete a shift, and the ability to recondition quickly and completely for the next shift.
Almost all nurses have direct contact with patients and must clearly explain to each person what they need to do in order to follow a doctor’s instructions. They often must answer questions posed by patients in a way that is easily understood.
Nurses must also be very good listeners. They are responsible for translating, recording or applying the instructions given by doctors and noting all symptoms described by patients with accuracy. Experienced and effective nurses also listen and learn from each other and are able to work well as a team.
Highly qualified and experienced nurses are sometimes in the position of supervising other nurses and health aides, so they must be able to communicate instructions clearly, follow up on the directives and evaluate the results of each task. They must also be able to mentor, guide and even correct subordinates when necessary, without demoralizing them.
An important part of a nurse’s job is to create and manage patient records. The records must be well organized and the information must be clear, accurate and without error. Nurses in charge of patient records check each entry (i.e., symptoms, prescribed medication, follow ups, scheduling, interventions and operations) to ensure that errors are kept to a minimum or even eliminated.
Great nurses pay attention to the most minute details on patients’ medical history (chart) and are trained to observe possible abnormalities on patients’ body or behavior.
Although functions and responsibilities of a typical nurse may vary widely based on the type of health care institution and patients they serve, a common denominator exists across the nursing profession – nurses are nature’s dedicated, passionate and determined helpers who make a difference in people’s lives.
Do you think you have all it takes to be a nurse?
Notre Dame College offers a RN to BSN Online degree, a fully accredited online degree.
To find out more about how you can become a nurse and what the education requirements are for a nursing degree, please contact Notre Dame College by submitting a Request for Information Form. It’s easy and FREE.