With so many different types of nurses—registered nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists—it’s easy to get confused about what duties each nursing role entails.
If you’re looking to go back to school knowing what each nursing job requires will guide you down the right path. Practical nursing is a great way to start—and in many cases doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree.
The Role of A Practical Nurse
Practical Nursing is one of the most common nursing career paths for those starting out in the field. Practical Nurses often assist registered nurses (RNs) and physicians, performing vital roles in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
While RNs might help prescribe medications, practical nurses are the ones behind the scenes making sure patients get daily care. They are needed to satisfy the basic and necessary needs of patients who can’t take care of themselves. Their duties range from dressing wounds to feeding infants. Caring for patients of all ages makes them a valued part of the community. Working hands-on with registered nurses may also help them to learn varying tasks which can help them excel to more experienced positions.
Responsibilities of Practical Nurses
Some tasks Practical Nurses may do in a typical day include:
- Taking and recording vitals
- Giving medication or starting IV drips
- Notifying doctors and R.N.s on patients’ status
- Helping doctors and nurses with patient procedures
- Maintaining records of patients’ medical histories
- Answering patient questions over the phone
- Preparing and cleaning equipment like oxygen supplies and feeding tubes
- Monitoring medication and patients’ responses
- Feeding and caring for infants
- Assisting in grooming and washing
Be aware that state regulations may restrict what duties Practical Nurses can perform and how much supervision is required under RNs and physicians.
If you’re looking for a field where you can give back and create lasting bonds with patients then The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health may be the right answer for you.