Nursing is both an art and a science. To be a successful RN, you'll have to utilize your scientific mind, technological and clinical know-how, your heart for compassion, and your skills to heal.
To get started on your nursing career, you'll first need to go to nursing school.
Okay, I want to be a Nurse. How do I get started?
HOW DO I DECIDE WHAT SPECIALTY TO GO INTO?Source: Discover Nursing, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems, Inc. www.discovernursing.com
Many nurses choose their specialty based on their own experiences - time spent with a sick relative, a personal battle with illness, or contact with a nurse who touched their lives. Whatever the reason, there is a wide variety of choices once you enter nursing school. Love babies? Neonatology might be right for you. Or maybe you'd prefer the split-second decisions of the ER. As a nurse, you can explore both fields as well as many more.
For more information on nursing specialties, visit:
WHAT ARE THE TYPICAL NURSING CAREERS?Source: Source: Virginia Health Careers manual.
Below are some nursing careers you may want to look into:
Nurse Practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses. They work in collaboration with physicians and other health professionals. With the increased need for primary care providers, there is a particularly high demand for nurse practitioners nationally and across the commonwealth of Virginia.
• take detailed health histories and perform complete physical exams.
• Diagnose patients and decide treatment plans.
• Treat common acute conditions, illnesses or minor injuries.
• Provide health management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes.
• Prescribe medications.
• Counsel patients and their families on preventive care, health problems and treatment alternatives.
Depending on their interests, nurse practitioners may work in private medical offices, clinics, schools, health maintenance organizations, health departments or hospitals. Some have their own private practices.
Certified nurse midwives provide personal, family-centered care for those with uncomplicated pregnancies and refer to affiliated physicians when the need arises.
• educate women regarding contraception, conception, personal care, nutrition, exercise, childbirth methods and other reproductive health issues.
• Conduct pelvic and breast exams and Pap smears.
• Monitor the patient and fetus during pregnancy.
• Assist women with labor and childbirth.
• Examine newborns and provide information in infant care and nutrition.
• Consult and refer to physicians when pregnancy or labor is not normal.
They usually work in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, public health departments, clinics and private practices.
They work in collaboration with physicians or dentists, combining professional nursing skills with the science of anesthesia. Nurse anesthetists are an important part of the surgical team.
• Explain upcoming medical procedures and anesthesia to patients.
• Assemble and test medical equipment needed to administer anesthetics.
• Prepare prescribed solutions and start intravenous injections.
• Administer prescribed anesthetics and medications.
• Observe patients to ensure that anesthesia is maintained.
• Monitor patients for warning signs during anesthesia and assist attending physicians with emergency procedures, if necessary.
• Record each patients' condition (as well as all anesthetics and medications administered) before, during and after surgery.
Nurse anesthetists may work in hospitals, emergency rooms, dental offices and outpatient surgery facilities.
Clinical Nurse Specialists
Clinical nurse specialist work in collaboration with physicians and other health care providers.
Clinical Nurse Specialists:
• perform physical and psychosocial assessments of patients and families.
• Diagnose not only health problems of individuals but those of groups of patients.
• Manage chronic conditions and illnesses.
• Educate and counsel patients on health care needs and preventive health care.
• Develop educational programs for nurses and other health care providers.
• Collaborate and conduct research.
Clinical nurse specialists focus on one or more areas, such as pediatrics, mental health, perinatal care, oncology or gerontology. They may work in hospitals, clinics, health maintenance organizations or in private practice.
Registered Nurses (RNs)
RNs work closely with patients' physicians and other health professionals as part of the health care team. Depending on their area of specialization and work setting, RNs perform some or all of the following:
• develop and implement individualized plans for a patient's care.
• Monitor and record patient's needs and changing conditions.
• Administer prescribed medications and treatments.
• Educate individuals on self-care, including maintaining health and preventing illness/injury.
• Conduct health screening tests and procedures.
• Direct and supervise other nursing personnel.
RNs are in demand in a wide variety of work settings: hospitals, physicians offices, industrial and corporation sites, clinics, government or community health agencies, nursing homes, hospices or patients' homes. RNs also may choose to pursue careers in health administration, teaching, utilization review, consulting, research and many other specialties.
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)
LPNs provide routine nursing care for patients. They work under the direction of registered nurses, or physicians.
Licensed practical nurses:
• take and record patients' vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature.
• Perform some diagnostic tests and treatments.
• Assist patients with daily activities, such as feeding, bathing and exercising, which may involve lifting and turning patients.
• Observe patients and report any reactions to treatments or medications.
• Care for patients ranging from newborns to adults, from labor and delivery to post-mortem.
LPNs may work in hospitals, clinics, physicians offices, private homes, nursing homes and other medical institutions.
Nursing assistants also known as nurse aides, home health aides or orderlies.
• take and record patients' temperature, blood pressure, and pulse.
• Set up medical equipment and perform simple treatments.
• Assist patients in and out of bed.
• Move patients to and from treatment rooms.
• Bathe, dress, undress and otherwise assist with patients' hygiene needs.
• Serve meals and feed patients.
• Clean, sterilize and assemble supplies and instruments used in surgery.
Make beds and perform other housekeeping activities to maintain cleanliness in patients' room, nurseries and operating rooms.
Nursing assistants usually work in hospitals or in nursing homes under the supervision of licensed health care professionals. They also may work in private homes or psychiatric care settings.
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