You may have heard the term RN and wondered what is an RN. It is a Registered Nurse. And what is a registered nurse?
An RN or Registered Nurse, is a regulated licensed professional who answers to a regulatory body which outlines each state or province’s best practices guidelines. This regulatory body sets the standards for nurses and determines what is legal for them to perform and what tasks they may or may not practice. From this set of rules, each work environment determines what RNs are responsible for within the individual setting.
An RN is directly responsible for taking care of those who are sick in hospitals, at home, at camps, schools, industry, etc. They are the front line workers who give you medications, change your dressings, initiate and run your IVs and many many other tasks. They monitor your health and liaison between yourself and the doctor to keep him apprised of any improvements or condition changes.
Also an RN can fill many roles and positions in either front line hands-on care or indirect care of individuals or groups of individuals such as teaching or as a manager of other nurses in hospital units which will affect their registered nurse salary.
A registered nurse job description would be much too lengthy to go into in detail, for they can perform many roles from front-line workers to researchers, clinicians, managers etc. But whatever role they take on within the health care field, there is one ultimate goal in mind and that is to deliver optimum health care to both the healthy and sick and to promote good health.
The majority of RNs in North America work in hospitals. The rn job description of the daily routine of a staff nurse in a hospital would include tasks such as developing a viable care plan, starting, maintaining and discontinuing IVs, administering medications, cleansing wounds, changing dressings, using blood pressure monitors to take vitals, temperature, respirations and O2 sats, monitoring patients for improvement or deteriorating conditions, documenting and reporting these conditions to the doctor or clinician in charge, and so many more small but significant tasks. Each day may change depending on the work environment, so a nurse must be prepared to be flexible and think critically while always making the patients health concerns a priority.
Another aspect of the registered nurse job description is health teaching for his/her patients and their families. It is their responsibility to make sure that when their patient leaves the hospital, they are properly taught to manage their illness or injury, how to change dressings, how to maintain a proper diet and nutrition for those with dietary conditions, how to take medications correctly or administer self-injections and what to do if things go wrong. Some RNs may work with the public running clinics for immunizations, blood drives, health screening etc.
If you are employed by a large hospital, your duties will change significantly from one department to another. Working in emergency requires you to use critical thinking quickly and be flexible, as every situation that comes into the emergency room will be different and require you to utilize different skills. Working in Maternity of course is again much different. You could work in palliative care, a cancer wing, a psychiatric wing and every single place you work will require a different set of skills and frame of mind. Often nurses will work in one chosen area, but if you are part time, you may be required to work where there is a need.
Being an RN is not a job to be entered into lightly. It is a difficult job, fast paced and nurses can see more than their fair share of tragedy and death, so it is imperative you understand all this before you begin. But a job like this is also full of rewards, saving lives and the feeling of making a difference in so many peoples lives.