Nursing is a popular career. At first glance, you might assume that nurses perform a lesser role than, say, doctors or surgeons. However, what you need to remember is that although nurses are in many ways the ‘support’ staff, they are also the foundation of the whole medical profession. Without nurses, basic medical care is seriously lacking – as Florence Nightingale discovered when she went to help troops injured during the Crimean War. So what exactly do nurses do within the healthcare system?
Working on the Frontline
The answer is simple: nurses do everything and a bit more besides. Nurses work on the front line of healthcare. They provide care to patients, from giving them preventative healthcare advice to taking care of them in the final stages of their life.
Nurses offer holistic care. They don’t just give injections or administer medication – although they do both of those things – they also address a patient’s emotional, mental, spiritual and cultural needs, both for the patient and for the patient’s family. The role of advocate is one of the most important roles a nurse takes on when he or she qualifies. As a nurse, you have to figure out what your patient wants or needs. If your patient doesn’t want to be resuscitated, it is up to you to make sure their needs are addressed. After all, sick patients can’t always speak up, so you are their mouthpiece.
Communication is essential in the healthcare sector. Desperately sick patients are not in a position to talk to medical staff, so part of a nurse’s job is acting as a go-between for the patient and doctor. A nurse will also be the first person a patient’s family turns to if they want more information about the patient’s treatment or illness. Nurses often have to deliver difficult news to patients and their families, so their communication skills need to be excellent.
Nurses also teach. Not just other patients, but patients, too. Preventative healthcare is an essential part of modern nursing, so it is common for nurses to give advice on diet and disease prevention. A nurse is usually the first person you see when you have a minor illness or ailment. They deal with the everyday healthcare issues, such as wound dressings and contraception advice. This leaves doctors free to tend to more seriously ill patients.
Every year, thousands of people enroll on nurse training programs. It’s a tough course, but if you have what it takes, you can then go on to study for a master’s in nursing, followed by a doctor of nursing practice from Bradley University. These extra qualifications will equip you for a senior management role. You won’t be dealing directly with patients, but you will have an important say in strategic planning issues.
Nursing is an incredibly valuable profession, so if you want a job where you can make a real difference to people’s lives, start studying for your nursing qualification and look into a DNP online course for the future.