A registered nurse (RN) provides direct patient care to individuals of all ages with physical, emotional and/or spiritual needs. The patient care given by an RN varies, but can be classified into four main steps. An RN must first assess a patient to see what his/her needs are. This is done by performing a head to toe assessment of the patient to include reading vital signs such as temperature, pulse rate and respiration. An RN will then use the scientific knowledge gained through his/her education and/or training to develop a care plan for the patient. Care plans are individually designed to provide treatments that would alleviate pain, treat disease, and promote general good health. The RN will then implement the care plan that was developed by providing treatment to a patient's particular illness. In this stage duties and responsibilities will vary but include assisting individuals with activities of daily living, and administering medications. Finally, a RN is responsible for evaluating the care plan used by assessing whether or not the patient has responded positively. Throughout all steps, an RN is working with and under the direction of a physician.
In addition to patient care activities, a registered nurse may function in the role of a preceptor by acting as a mentor to nursing students and other personnel. Registered nurses are often seen as team leaders and the backbones of patient care. A registered nurse can find employment in any place where people may need medical attention. Examples of employers include hospitals, clinics, high schools and colleges, nursing homes, occupational health facilities, physicians' offices, private homes, the armed forces, etc.
RNs often specialize in certain areas of nursing to include medical/surgical care, critical care, emergency care, long-term care, pediatrics, women's care, surgical care, etc. To view information about specific nursing specialty areas and how to become certified in these areas, please visit the Nursing Spectrum Website.
Educational Requirements and Resources
In terms of education, this position requires either an associate's degree (two year program) and/or a bachelor's degree (four year program) from an approved school of nursing. A Master's Degree in Nursing is also recommended. After completion of schooling, all registered nurses must be licensed through a state board of nursing. In order to meet licensure requirements, individuals must pass an examination (NCLEX) that is administered by each state board. To learn more about licensure in the state of Ohio, visit the State of Ohio Board of Nursing
. Please use the links provided below to learn more about specific educational programs pertaining to this field.