What Do Registered Nurses Do?

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What Do Registered Nurses Do?

My sister keeps asking me what I do as a nurse. In a nutshell, I assess, teach, provide medication and treatments, monitor conditions, communicate my findings, and coordinate care (are referrals needed? Consults? Who else should know about the issue?). Taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is the differences among things that Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurse, and Nursing Aides do.

Registered Nurses (RN)

  • Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
  • Give patients medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage their illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatment

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

  • Monitor patients’ health—for example, by checking their blood pressure
  • Administer basic nursing care, including changing bandages and inserting catheters
  • Provide for the basic comfort of patients, such as helping them bathe or dress
  • Discuss health care with patients and listen to their concerns
  • Report patients’ status to registered nurses and doctors
  • Keep records on patients’ health

Certified Nursing Aide (CNA)

  • Clean and bathe patients or residents
  • Help patients use the toilet and dress
  • Turn, reposition, and transfer patients between beds and wheelchairs
  • Listen to and record patients’ health concerns and report that information to nurses
  • Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature
  • Serve meals and help patients eat
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