The Registered Nurse: Roles and Responsibilities from Past to Present
The nursing profession forms a complex set of responsibilities that leans toward health care and well being. The Royal College of Nursing established six principles that elucidate the concept of the nursing profession. These six principles include the purpose, line of work, coverage, focus, value enhancement, and partnership programs
Supporting health and preventing the occurrence of certain medical conditions and illnesses are the primary goals of nursing. The second principle is that the nursing profession serves as a mode of intervention, which determines the totality of an individual’s health care needs and looks through the attainment of these necessities. The domain that the nursing profession covers is limited to the health care needs of individuals, including physiological, psychological, mental, and social requirements.
The fourth principle discusses the focus of the profession that lies on the entire being of a person with regards to health care treatment. Moreover, the foundations of the nursing practice are based on morally and ethically inclined responsibilities to human life. The sixth and the last principles of the nursing profession is the establishment of partnership of nurses with patients and their families, and other health care professionals in order to accomplish all the goals of nursing.
Registered nurses are deemed to build the foundation of health care facilities. They carry out several roles and responsibilities such as involvements in patient care and instruction, health care assessments, and patient plans regarding discharge. Other known responsibilities of registered nurses include in depth knowledge about drugs and medicines for purposeful patient administration, as well as equipments and services in health care facilities, and the expression of care and compassion for those who are in dire need of health care attention.
Over time, the roles and responsibilities of registered nurses have changed with the advent of technological advancements and the shifts to community health nursing. Technology offers nurses the opportunity for professional encroachment, as they are required to learn about new assistive technologies that are designed to assist in health care administration. Moreover, the shift of nursing practices to focus more on community health nursing emphasizes on the roles of nurses as an educator of health care practices and principles to the community. The nursing profession has also become specialized as nurses acquire specific roles within the health care facility.
Becoming a Nurse
There are several specializations available for nurses, such as available jobs in hospitals, clinics, residential homes, private home practice, etc. The route to becoming a nurse is dependent on an individual’s decisions regarding the type of nurse one wants to become. Nursing requires intensive education, because of the complexity of nursing roles and responsibilities. Therefore, individuals must be willing to get involved with the demanding nature of nursing education. Moreover, individuals must be mentally and psychologically prepared to take on various challenging positions that nursing education might require.
The Educational Aspect of Becoming a Nurse
The educational aspect of nursing varies because of the differences and limitations with regards to the different nursing roles and specialization. Individuals may opt to start in school with an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing), Hospital Diploma, or a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). An Associate Degree only requires two years of schooling. The obtainment of a diploma requires three years, and the Bachelor of Science Degree requires four years. Nursing schools require the completion of several courses, mostly related to sciences, and the attainment of standards regarding grade point averages. To become a registered nurse, passing the NCLEX is important. (“Become a Registered Nurse”)
What do they Do?
Individuals with hospital or nursing diplomas are more hands on with their work, although limited in in depth knowledge and skills of the nursing profession. An Associate Degree in Nursing, like the Hospital Diploma, is limited to the acquisition of technical skills only. For wider skills in management and administration, continuing to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in education is advisable.
Types of Nurses, and Where They Work
There are several types of registered nurses, the associate nurse, the nurse who has completed a Bachelor of Science Degree, and the Nursing Practitioner. The Associate Nurse earned two years of education concentrating on one year of science related courses and another year for nursing practice. Associate Nurses have the opportunity to work in Extensive Care (outpatient, etc.), hospitals (specializing in medical surgery assistance), and private care (in a doctor’s office). Associate nurses are able to develop their professions through further education and gaining experience in extensive care and hospitals, in becoming medical doctors, registered nurses, and a certified nursing assistant. For those who are in private care, alternatives include being medical doctors or registered nurses.
Individuals who have gained a Bachelor’s degree in nursing may work in Extensive Care or hospitals. Job specifications are significantly concentrated on the managerial level in Extensive Care and more crucial jobs in hospitals, such as monitoring all aspects of health care and the administration of patient treatments, planning health care plans in intensive care, getting involved in community based health care, etc.
For individuals who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, the role of nursing practitioner is open to them through the obtainment of a Masters Degree. Nursing practitioners, as they are able to work in hospitals and work in private care, are more like doctors, such that they are able to prescribe drugs and medications to their patients. By earning a master’s degree, they gain in depth knowledge about diagnostics and evaluation of health conditions. Moreover, nursing practitioners are able to administer patient referrals. Earning a master’s degree is important as it enhances their skills in preparation of being a nursing practitioner by undergoing research, social work, health care management, and health care education. These roles form the comprehensive roles and responsibilities of the nursing practitioner.
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Royal College of Nursing. (2003). “Defining Nursing.” Retrieved May 9, 2008, from The Royal
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