Registered Nurses: Tell me more

08Oct09

Nursing is the most diverse of all health care professions and they practice in a wide range of settings, but generally nursing responsibilities are divided depending on the needs of the person being nursed. The major divisions involve the nursing of patients with mental health problems, nursing of children (pediatric nursing), nursing of older adults (geriatric nursing), and the nursing of people in their own homes (home health nursing). There are also specialist areas such as cardiac nursing, orthopedic nursing and oncology nursing.

Nursing focuses on assisting in attaining, maintaining, and recovering optimal health and functioning. Modern definitions of nursing define it as a science and an art that focuses on promoting quality of life as defined by persons and families, throughout their life experiences from birth to care at the end of life.

RNs can specialize in one or more patient care specialties. The most common specialties can be divided into roughly four categories—by work setting or type of treatment; disease, ailment, or condition; organ or body system type; or population. RNs may combine specialties from more than one area—for example, pediatric oncology or cardiac emergency—depending on personal interest and employer needs. RNs, regardless of specialty or work setting, perform basic duties that include treating patients, educating patients and the public about various medical conditions, and providing advice and emotional support to patients’ family members. RNs record patients’ medical histories and symptoms, help to perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

RNs teach patients and their families how to manage their illness or injury, including post-treatment home care needs, diet and exercise programs, and self-administration of medication and physical therapy. Some RNs also are trained to provide grief counseling to family members of critically ill patients. RNs work to promote general health by educating the public on various warning signs and symptoms of disease and where to go for help. RNs also might run general health screening or immunization clinics, blood drives, and public seminars on various conditions.

RNs may specialize by work setting or by type of care provided. For example, Ambulatory Care Nurses treat patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries on an outpatient basis, either in physicians’ offices or in clinics. Some ambulatory care nurses are involved in telehealth, providing care and advice through electronic communications media such as videoconferencing or the Internet. Critical Care nurses work in critical or intensive care hospital units and provide care to patients with cardiovascular, respiratory, or pulmonary failure. Emergency or Trauma  work in hospital emergency departments and treat patients with life-threatening conditions caused by accidents, heart attacks, and strokes. Some emergency nurses are flight nurses, who provide medical care to patients who must be flown by helicopter to the nearest medical facility. Holistic nurses provide care such as acupuncture, massage and aroma therapy, and biofeedback, which are meant to treat patients’ mental and spiritual health in addition to their physical health. Home Health Care nurses provide at-home care for patients who are recovering from surgery, accidents, and childbirth. Hospice and Palliative Care nurses provide care for, and help ease the pain of, terminally ill patients outside of hospitals. Infusion nurses administer medications, fluids, and blood to patients through injections into patients’ veins. Long-term Care nurses provide medical services on a recurring basis to patients with chronic physical or mental disorders. Medical-Surgical nurses provide basic medical care to a variety of patients in all health settings.  Perianesthesia nurses provide preoperative and postoperative care to patients undergoing anesthesia during surgery. Perioperative nurses assist surgeons by selecting and handling instruments, controlling bleeding, and suturing incisions. Some of these nurses also can specialize in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Psychiatric nurses treat patients with personality and mood disorders.

Nurse Practitioners are experienced RNs with a Master’s Degree in a sub specialty as listed above. NPs can do all of the same things a primary care physician can do within a scope of practice.

Metro Medical Direct is a Nurse Practitioner owned Private Practice in New York City. Providing the first web-based primary care medical house calls practice that takes the hassles out of going to the doctor.



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