Nurses can specialize in different fields, called “branches”:
Within these branches, the work of nurses is very varied. Some patients spend short hospital stays, while in places like local doctors’ offices and health centers, a nurse can see many patients in a short time.
For example, a nurse might take care of a broken arm or give a tropical disease injection to someone who is going on vacation.
However, care for some patients such as people with cancer can go on for months or years. This type of nursing is based on a close and trusting relationship between the nurse and the patient.
Within nursing there are many fields of work, depending on what your branch is. Some examples of fields of expertise are: intensive care, cancer care, operating room and recovery, and care of the elderly.
Wherever they work, their focus will be on the person they are caring for, not just for what reason they need medical care.
This means that nurses have to think and plan how to meet all of the person’s care needs, including their emotional needs, and take into account any social or personal problems they may have.
They should listen to and talk to the patient, answer questions, and deal with any anxiety or concern the patient may have. Nurses often also talk to the patient’s family or caregivers, updating them on the patient’s progress or explaining the treatment, for example.
Nurses are usually responsible for several patients at the same time. Together with the doctors and other medical staff, they make a plan for the care of their patients.
Every nurse is part of a large care team, made up of doctors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, health scientists, dietitians, health aides, and other types of health personnel.
After working with the team to develop a plan of care, nurses use their clinical knowledge and observational skills to assess how well the plan is working.
Nurses have to keep very detailed and accurate notes and records. They may need to change the plan of care, based on your observations. Nurses work closely with physicians, therapists, and other clinical staff, bringing changes and developments to your attention.
Practical nursing can involve:
- Take the temperature
- Administer drugs and give injections
- Heal wounds and change bandages.
Routine care tasks, such as making beds and helping the patient eat, wash, and dress, are often the responsibility of health workers rather than nurses.
Nurses are taking over more and more tasks, after obtaining the corresponding complementary training. Some nurses are capable, for example, of performing minor surgery, prescribing medications and prescribing treatments, referring patients to other departments, receiving them, and being in charge of consultations.
Many types of nursing depend on advanced technology, such as specific life-saving or monitoring devices, and nurses may have to control or keep track of different types of equipment.