Nurses work hard every day to deliver outstanding care to patients and their families: They administer medications, take blood pressures and share important notes and insights with doctors. But while these are some of the more well-known responsibilities, there’s much more to being a nurse. Discover four little-known facts about nurses and get a better idea of how they help strengthen your physical, mental and spiritual health.
For Them, It’s More Than a Job
For many of us, the work we do is just a job: A way to make a paycheck, pay bills and support our families. But for nurses, it’s so much more. Ask any nurse why he or she went into nursing and they’ll likely give you a similar answer.
They’ll respond that they wanted to help others or that from a young age they knew they wanted to care for people. In fact, most nurses will tell you that it’s not just a job: it’s a calling.
They Care — Much More Than You’ll Ever Know
Professionalism is an important part of a nurse’s responsibility. It’s their duty to remain calm, cool and collected during the most challenging, tragic and upsetting circumstances. And they do — handling stressful situations with grace, patience and a calm exterior.
What they don’t tell you is how much they’re affected by patients and their families. They care deeply and don’t stop working when a shift ends. Instead, nurses carry patients home. They think about what went well today or how they can make someone’s experience a little better or brighter tomorrow.
This tireless dedication runs deep among all nurses and isn’t something you see when a nurse is bustling in and out of an exam room tending to your needs. It’s something they carry with them always; and its part of what makes nurses so exceptional.
They’ve Had Rigorous Schooling
A registered nurse (RN) must complete a rigorous and intense education tract, as well as pass a national licensing exam. In addition, RNs must also pass state boards to be able to practice nursing in an office, hospital, medical center or other healthcare facility.
There are a wide range of educational opportunities for students interested in becoming nurses, including:
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): Community and vocational schools offer two-year programs that provide the necessary education and experience to pass boards and become a nurse.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): Four-year programs offer comprehensive training that prepare nurses for their career. Many nurses who receive an ADN return to school to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): Nurses interested in advancing their career may decide to work toward a master’s degree. Specialty programs, such as women’s health, oncology, nursing administration or nursing education allow nurses to tailor their education to their interests and career goals.
It’s important to realize that once schooling is complete, nurses continue to learn and grow. Registered nurses must renew their licenses every two years. Nurses must meet specific requirements to be eligible for renewal. Requirements may include:
- Continuing Education
- Publication of a Nursing-Related Article
- Research Projects
- Satisfactory Employment Evaluations
These requirements vary across states and demonstrate the commitment nurses have to advancing their education.
Their Responsibilities Go Beyond Patient Care
There are tasks that we easily associate with nurses: Responsibilities like taking our vitals, placing an IV, giving us a shot or measuring our weight and height. But there’s so much more that a nurse does every single day — some tasks that are outlined on a job description, and others that they tackle on their own:
They Adapt to Change Easily
Healthcare is constantly changing and nurses are at the forefront. They’ve mastered new technology, new ways to deliver care and new policies and procedures that will improve the care you receive. They provide feedback to supervisors, leadership and legislators on how the health of the community can be improved.
They Communicate Clearly With Doctors
Nurses are the ones who fill a doctor’s orders and report back on how you responded. They also advocate for your care by sharing their unique insight and experience on how well you’re doing and what might help you meet your next milestone.
They Support Each Other
Nurses are expected to support their patients and families. But nurses are also there for each other: Sharing lessons learned, offering advice and feedback and lending a shoulder when needed. Nurses form impressive teams that lift up entire communities to improve physical, mental and spiritual health.
They Update the Next Shift
Nurses on different shifts work together so that everyone’s on the same page about the care you received, what you need next and how you’re healing. Nurses also share important details not captured on a chart — things like who visited you, if family members needed a little extra encouragement or how you really felt after a long day.
It’s Your Turn: Go Beyond Your To-Do List to Thank a Nurse
This National Nurses Week, thank a nurse who’s made a difference in your life in getting you back on the path to whole health. Many of our hospitals offer ways and opportunities to publicly acknowledge a nurse who provided exceptional care for you.
Contact us to share your comments and experiences.