Today's medical field has so much specialization that there's no single type of nurse, so if you're considering a career in this field it makes sense to read different types of nursing job descriptions. Each type of nursing position has different responsibilities, areas of expertise and specified ways of interacting with certain types of patients.
Some Nursing Job Descriptions
Exact descriptions of specific nursing jobs may vary greatly. The following job descriptions should be considered as a loose set of guidelines that may vary from one workplace to the next.
- Licensed Practical Nurse: Also known as licensed vocational nurses in California and Texas, these practitioners report directly to physicians and RNs, collecting vital sign data and treating minor conditions. LPNs treat bedsores and put bandages on wounds, bathe and dress patients and give enemas. LPNs often help patients deal with their illnesses, and in some states can administer prescribed medicines and start intravenous fluids.
- Registered Nurse: Registered nurses typically engage in a significant amount of patient interaction. They are often the first point of clinical contact for patients when employed in a doctor's office. Registered nurses who work in inpatient settings may be responsible for developing daily plans for patient care during hospital stays and after the patients go home. Beyond that, specific responsibilities are determined by state laws, along with the specific work environment where the nurse is employed.
- Nurse Supervisor: Like the job title indicates, head nurses oversee teams of nurses, including scheduling shifts, assigning duties, ensuring that nursing records are correctly maintained, overseeing stock of supplies and equipment, and making sure staff are properly trained. The job may include some amount of patient care. Supervisors usually have plenty of experience working in clinical nursing jobs before assuming a managerial role.
- Nursing Home Nurse: Like the job title says, nursing home nurses work in long term care facilities. They serve as primary caregivers while also performing administrative duties. There are opportunities for LPNs and RNs to do this type of work.
- Home Health Nurse: These nurses take care of patients who are convalescing at home and work with their families on how to help make the patients more comfortable. These jobs may offer more flexibility and independence than other types of nursing positions In some cases, home health nurses may supervise their own aides. Positions are available for RNs and LPNs.
- Nurse Practitioner: These advanced practice nurses are considered primary care givers. Nurse practitioners perform many of the same functions as RNs. They are also allowed to prescribe some medications and play an active role in diagnosis. These types of jobs require a filed specific Master's degree.
- Certified Nurse Anesthetists: Like the title suggests, these nurses can administer anaesthesia in addition to prescribing medications. Specific job details vary according to state and the actual work environment. Individuals who perform this type of work must earn a specialized Master's degree and become specially certified.
- Certified Nurse Midwives: These nurses perform some of the duties that obstetricians do, mainly helping with childbirth and immediate newborn care. They typically work with women who want to give birth in their own homes or otherwise outside of a hospital operating room. A specialized graduate degree is necessary to enter this advanced practice nursing profession.
Know the Nurses
Understanding the different types of nursing job descriptions can help you plan a career in the field. Knowing the differences can also aid you in choosing which educational programs to apply to for preparation.