What do you actually DO?

  1. Hi! I am pretty sure I want to go into nursing, but I am confused, I guess, about what nurses actually do! I know that there are hundreds of different options, and that nurses do all sorts of things. I am talking mostly about RN's in a metropolitan hospital setting. I am most interested in pediatric oncology, labor and delivery, and pediatric hospice.
    I guess I am most curious about the delegation of duties. I was a CNA in a small hospital for a little while, and I hated it! All I got to do was make beds and empty bedpans, measure I&O's and every once in a while take vitals. I found it very boring. Do the RN's diagnose? Give the meds? Decide on courses of treatment? I think I'm just not sure what responsibilities the RN has and which belong to the doctor or the CNA. The RN's were not visible at all in the hospital I worked in, and the MD's were basically non-existent.
    Just give me a brief "day in the life" story. Thank you!!
    Last edit by BethyC123 on Dec 21, '07
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   prmenrs
    When you go in, you either listen to report on everyone, or just those pts to whom you're assigned. You may have a LVN or an aide working w/you; hopefully, you'll figure out a game plan and set priorities. The plan has to be flexible to deal w/emergencies, admissions, pts returning from surgery. Discharge teaching is also on the list.

    RNs and LVNs do vitals, give meds, change dressings, aides help feeding, toileting, bathing. RNs also do a physical assessment--lungs, heart, abdomen. LVNs and aides need to report significant observations to the RN, like VS that are not normal, dressings that have increased/abnormal drainage.

    The RNs kind of have to put everything together--reactions to meds, lab values, and changes in pts condition. S/He needs to be sure all lab tests, X-Rays, scans, etc get done, and all reports there for the doc to review. If there are orders nursing wants (like pain control, skin care, wound care), she might leave a note on teh chart for the doc to see. If possible, she should be there when the MD rounds so she can ask ??s and clarify stuff.

    A lot depends on the setting; in critical care, the RN will likely do all the care for the pt., bathing, feeding, toileting, VS, meds, obtaining labs, but she takes care only 1 or 2 pts. I work in NICU; @ least every 3 hours, I assess, vital, change diapers, feed babies; I give meds; help moms breastfeed, do discharge teaching; evaluate the baby's response to her treatment plan. When a sick baby is admitted, he has to be evaluated and treatment started, sometimes before the specialist gets to the bedside. A specially trained RN goes to high risk deliveries so she can resuscitate the baby as soon as s/he is born

    Answering call lights, helping families, passing out food trays--everyone should help, unless otherwise occupied.

    This is by no means a universal or a complete list of duties.
  4. by   BethyC123
    Thank you so much prmenrs. This is very helpful.
  5. by   cherubhipster
    I found this very helpful too, thank you! There should be more "day in the life" stories out there for us..
  6. by   Daytonite
    try reading some of the posts on this thread of allnurses:
    what i usually tell people about being an rn is that an rn is a supervisor of patient care and a problem solver. while you do have to know how to do basic nursing care and hands-on procedures such as starting ivs, putting in foley catheters, suctioning, doing trach care and many other things, rns basically are managing the care of the patient's under their charge and making sure that their care and treatments are being done. this requires organization and delegation skills. in most adn nursing programs basic nursing care is taught in the first semester. the remainder of the coursework is learning about the many different diseases and how they are treated. the reason for this is in order to know how to solve problems related to complications that can arise which tends to happen frequently. in rn school you focus on and are taught the nursing process, which is the way we problem solve.

    if you haven't already seen and read the information on this website, take some time to explore it:
  7. by   marie-francoise
    Here is another thread that may be of help:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f8/your-...ks-267032.html
  8. by   blueheaven
    Quote from BethyC123
    Hi! I am pretty sure I want to go into nursing, but I am confused, I guess, about what nurses actually do! I know that there are hundreds of different options, and that nurses do all sorts of things. I am talking mostly about RN's in a metropolitan hospital setting. I am most interested in pediatric oncology, labor and delivery, and pediatric hospice.
    I guess I am most curious about the delegation of duties. I was a CNA in a small hospital for a little while, and I hated it! All I got to do was make beds and empty bedpans, measure I&O's and every once in a while take vitals. I found it very boring. Do the RN's diagnose? Give the meds? Decide on courses of treatment? I think I'm just not sure what responsibilities the RN has and which belong to the doctor or the CNA. The RN's were not visible at all in the hospital I worked in, and the MD's were basically non-existent.
    Just give me a brief "day in the life" story. Thank you!!
    Instead of asking all of us, because we all wear MANY MANY hats on any given day and our jobs are as varied as our hats...go to your friendly neighborhood hospital and talk with the nurse recruiter. Explain that you would like to shadow nurses in the areas that you are interested in and see what happens first hand.

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