current student dreaming to become a nurse!

  1. Hello there!
    I am excited to be a new member of this site. Wondering if some folks will be willing to reply to this post.:spin:
    I am currently employed as an occupational therapist assistant (cota/L)
    and have been going back to school to further my academic endeavors.
    I am looking forward to more science classes to better prepare me for
    a future career in nursing and possibly to specialize in some facet of
    nursing soon thereafter.
    Working in an inpatient rehab hospital, and working as a cota i see various
    duties/responsibililties that a nurse is expected of, but since i am not there
    as a student, i feel like i'm putting someone on the spot asking any of the
    nurses, 'what it is that they do'. More specifically, what are the duties and responsibilities of a nurse (RN)?
    I suspect that as the settings vary, so do the duties/responsibilities
    that come along with the job, i.e., Inpatient rehab RN, ER nurse, psych. nurse, and even school nurse. Level of treatment available at a particular
    facility would seem to me, dictate the duties and responsibilities that a
    nurse would take on.
    Anyhow, a little long winded perhaps, but anyone care to share with me
    what these duties and responsibilities would be in your position?
    Thanks a lot!

    of a nurse?
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   nurseangel47
    hello and wnabanurse,
    I've been a registered nurse since 1986. I can start a partial list of our duties/responsibilities that others on here will certainly add to as they see this post.
    A typical day in a LTC facility: passing meds at least two rounds, I mean mountains of pills! It usually takes approx. 1-1/2 to 2 hours depending on your hall and what shift it is.
    A handful or more of treatments, some complex, others simple.
    Overseeing/delegating LPNs, CNAs, sitters, etc. on your floor or unit.
    Performing qid and hs blood sugars via fingerstick and monitoring for s/sx of hypo-hyper glycemic reactions and treating those and using sliding scale in addition to before meals and at bedtime injections of insulin depending on the severity of the diabetic.
    Attending to occurrences, such as falls, which are nearly an every other day somewhere in the facility such as LTC facilities. This may mean calling for ambulance service to take to ED for staples or stitches, xrays, etc. to assess pts to determine level of severity of fall injuries.
    Keeping patients safe, making sure they're dry, clean, warm, comfortable...and this is mainly done via the delegation to the cnas or nurse techs, or patient care technicians, et al whatever that particular facility refers to these nurses' helpers.
    Constantly checking/assessing for any potential bed sores or decubitus as we refer to them. Paperwork either by hand in chart of via computer insofar as whoever is medicare, who is on antibiotics, who is a new admission, who is acute,...that sort of thing.
    Monthly and or weekly nursing notes either in chart or via computer, there again, of the general overall condition of the patient and their progress for the week or month.
    Helping feed a meal or a partial meal since a lot of the dependent feeders are out of proportion to the number of available nursing assts. to feed before their food is unpalatable due to being stone cold.
    Making sure that people got their baths/showers usually every other day in LTC. Some aides actually throw powder on them, wash their face and hands and try to get by that they showered them. Not to create a hornet's nest here, you aides don't fuss at me, I emphasize that it is an exception, not all aides do this, by any means!
    Doing tube feedings, checking for tube placement, flushing tubes sometimes every two hours, sometims every four hours, monitoring intake of gtube feedings. Attending to site care of ivs, feeding tubes, starting and or d/cing ivs, monitoring pulse oximetry, maintaining safe and clean oxygen apparatus, attending to multiple onsets annually of viral/bacterial outbreaks in a closed set populace such as nursing homes esp. during virus/flu/cold season...visitors/staff/residents pass that same virus around and around!
    Giving annual tb shots; giving annual flu shots;setting up and arranging travel for patients to be taken to outside doc's appts, monitoring/making sure that dialysis pts. are up and ready to go to dialysis three times per week...hoping their shunt site doesn't clot or bleed out on you after they're delivered back to LTC site after dialysis...helping the dying to die with dignity and as painfree as possible...helping the families to cope with losing their loved one...dealing with the LOL who wants to go out to the parking lot to get to husband (who's been dead for years!) and drive off in her car and doesn't believe you when you tell her " 'this is your home....you live here now...' " they usually want to call the police because they think you've kidnapped them and are holding them against their will!
    Sundowners on second and or third shift...fine during the day, get all disoriented when the sun starts to set, nighttime confuses them...
    And my "favorite" (NOT!) is looking for Easter Eggs! (this is what I refer to when I'm hunting down my resident to give them their pills and other meds...) sometimes they're clear on the other side of the entire facility!
    Some can wander and try to get out the door. Even with alarms, we've had those that sneak out the door when visitors are coming in and going out.
    If I forgot anything, I'm sure others can add...and these are duties just considered part of a RN in LTC facility does....hospitals are different...clinics are different....school nurses are different as are home health, hospice, etc.
  4. by   Daytonite
    hi, wnabanurse!

    i'm listing some links for you to check out that will provide you with some of the information you are looking for. good luck with your plans. welcome to allnurses!

    http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos083.htm - about registered nursing from the u.s. department of labor

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/day-l...se-185298.html - a day in the life of a registered nurse thread on general nursing discussion forum

    http://www.discovernursing.com/

    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/...ers/42226.html - "thinking about nursing school? consider your many options" from the college board.

    http://www.nursingsociety.org/career/cmap.html

    http://nursing.about.com/od/becomean...eforenurse.htm - "before you decide to become a nurse". things to consider about being a nurse. lots of links to information about what skills you need to become a nurse. and, what if you're really bad at math and science is discussed.

    http://nursing.about.com/od/becomean...oreveryone.htm - "nursing is not for everyone". this is a very down to earth and honest article that broadly discusses what a nurse does and what you can expect on the job as a nurse.

    http://nursing.about.com/od/nursings...sferskills.htm - "nurses skills transfer to other professions". a list of 8 basic job skills that nurses are able to perform making them desirable for hire in many other professions.
  5. by   Tweety
    Good luck. Welcome to Allnurses!

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