By an allied health world contributing writer
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Registered Nurse – a closer look at a vital profession
Registered nurses, commonly referred to as RN’s, encompass the majority of workers in the health care industry and represent one of today’s fastest growing fields. Registered nurses occupy an extensive range of specialties, work settings, and levels of authority. Their job is to serve as the patient’s advocate by providing care, education, and counsel.
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What personality characteristics would best suit a registered nurse?
The nursing candidates are highly motivated by helping others. Nurses play the role of both an astute medical provider and a compassionate counselor which requires an equal blend of nurturing and assertiveness.
Time management skills are a must. Nursing work is often very autonomous. There is often little supervision to ensure all the steps have been taken to complete a job properly. Many situations require a registered nurse to think fast; calling for critical thinking and common sense. An individual who is very shy or easily intimidated may want to consider a career outside of the nursing profession. Nurses must be assertive and know how to effectively communicate, especially when dealing with difficult patients and superiors. For example, nurses must seek approval from a physician before implementing major medical procedures, and they are not always timely in response. Registered nurses cannot be afraid to confront a physician for answers or go over their head if necessary to provide proper patient care.
What types of registered nurse specialties exist?
Virtually all entry-level registered nurses hold a general nursing degree and license without specializing in a specific field of nursing; however, registered nurses of all levels are able to pursue a specialized nursing degree. This additional training will increase pay and meet personal interests. There is a large number of nursing specialties in existence all of which fall within four basic areas of focus:
- Those focused on a specific type of treatment or hospital setting such as perioperative nurses who exclusively assist surgeons in operating rooms.
- Those focused on specific health conditions such as oncology. Oncology nurses assist with the treatment of cancer patients and the monitoring of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
- Those focused on one or more organs or body system types. This would include, for example, dermatology nurses who work primarily with skin disorder patients.
- Those focused on a well-defined population such as newborns. These specialty nurses are known as Neonatology Nurses.
The basics are sometimes combined to create more explicit specialties such as pediatric diabetes nurses who work with diabetic children. Specialty nurse qualifications can vary by state, but certification generally consists of four things: RN licensure, choosing a specialty, completing two years of on-the-job experience in that area, and meeting a required amount of class attendance. Most states then require graduates to take a nationally recognized test to earn the state-specific nursing certification.
What is the Nurse Practice Acts?
The Nurse Practice Acts (NPAs) are the most important piece of legislation in nursing practice. Created by each state board of nursing; NPAs protect public health, safety, and welfare by regulating and clearly defining the scope of the RN practice.
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Does a registered nurse ever encounter law suits?
While most law suits may be brought against the hospital’s legal system rather than a specific nurse or doctor, registered nurses are occasionally called into court depositions to defend their nursing care. For this reason all nurses are strongly advised to thoroughly document their work at all times. If a specific action is not documented the legal system assumes it never happened.
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