Nursing has changed a great deal since the first nursing class graduated from Florence Nightingale's nursing school in 1860. The great advances in medicine over the last century have brought changes in the demands placed on nurses. Today, there are over 3 million registered nurses working in the United States alone, and these nurses cover a broad range of specialties and have a broad range of responsibilities (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
A typical day for a registered nurse can range from being involved in a medical specialty to performing a specific task. There are over 104 nursing specialties, including anesthesia, intensive care, obstetrics and gynecology, and geriatric, just to name a few (Explore Specialites). Registered nurses are specifically trained for their chosen specialty or, if they choose not to be in specialty nursing, they can care for a broad range of patients working on a floor in a hospital or in a family practice clinic. In either situation, however, a typical day for a nurse is full a lot of hard work and responsibility.
Nursing responsibilities include taking patient histories and performing an initial assessment on the patient. This gives the nurse an opportunity to have one-on-one time with the patient during which they can perform health counseling and talk to the patient about their health. The nurse is often the first person the patient sees, so the nurse makes important health assessments and decisions regarding triage and next steps for patient care. After the patient has been assessed by a physician, the nurse can then administer medications and some treatments based on physician direction. Last but not least, the nurse is often the one who follows up with the patient regarding their continued care and makes further arrangements for tests, if necessary (What Nurses Do).
As evidenced above, communication is one of the most important skills a nurse can possess. It is very important that the nurse makes the patients feel comfortable and safe in sharing their personal health history. It is also equally important that the nurse ensure that the patient understands the directions they are given by the physician. Nurses are trained on intravenous lines as well as medication administration and patient assessment. A caring and empathetic attitude is a must for a nurse, but a nurse must also be firm so the patient understands the importance of their instruction and guidance. A nurse is armed with the skill necessary to perform these tasks by their education.
There are many ways to become a nurse in the United States, as there are many different levels of licensure available to nurses. The first licensure is the Licensed Practical Nurse. This nurse has passed training of a vocational nature and then, to become certified, must pass The National Council Licensure Examination (LPN Requirements). The next step on the...