What is a General Nurse?
There are many types of nurses. Many specialize in one area of medicine, such as a labor and delivery nurse who helps deliver children. But a general nurse is trained to handle a variety of injuries and illnesses. General nurses might be found in the emergency room, where staff has no idea what type of illness or injury a patient will come in with. They also perform daily tasks for patients such as checking their pain levels and administering treatments.
Whether they're working in an emergency department, a cardiac unit or a birth center, nurses seem to make everything better. That might explain why they are the most trusted professionals in the country--and have been for 15 consecutive years.
But most people only get to see some of what nurses do. Sure, their ability to connect with and care for patients is important. But they do a lot of things behind the scenes that most people never know about. Here's a look at the important role general nurses play in helping people live happier, healthier lives.
Where General Nurses Work
Nurses are everywhere you'd expect them to be and some places that you might find surprising.
They work in hospitals, primary care clinics, schools, nursing homes and hospices. But they also work for government agencies, the military, on college campuses and Fortune 500 companies across the country.
As organizations place a greater emphasis on keeping their employees healthy, many have opened in-house clinics staffed with nurses who address health concerns during the day.
What General Nurses Do Every Day
If health care were a baseball team, general nurses would be the utility infielders--able to play many different positions, make quick decisions and add value all over the place.
General nurses provide direct patient care, which can include bathing and dressing patients, administering doctor-prescribed medications, and collecting fluid samples. They also assist physicians with exams, manage electronic medical records, and work to educate patients about medications, treatments, and healthy lifestyles.
Behind the scenes, general nurses manage insurance forms, supervise nursing aides and make sure the unit on which they work are well-stocked with the right supplies.
The Challenges of Being a General Nurse
Like any profession, nursing has its share of challenges. There are everyday hazards that come with handling sharp instruments and needles, the risk of becoming sick by being around people dealing with illness, and the need to stay up-to-date with all of the latest treatments and technology.
Outside of the office, one of the biggest challenges is having friends and family constantly asking about their health. After all, everyone loves nurses and respects them so much they constantly turn to them for help--in and out of the healthcare environment.
The Rewards of Being a General Nurse
Most general nurses will tell you that the rewards associated with the profession by far outweigh the challenges.
Nurses get to help people in need. They get to be there during some of the most important moments of a patient's life. They work on the cutting edge of medicine. And they have outstanding career opportunities.
Nurses are in high demand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, there is currently a shortage of nurses in the United States, so their job prospects are good and expected to get better.
The Qualities that General Nurses Need to Succeed
All great nurses share some important qualities, according to EveryNurse.org. After all, caring for the vulnerable carries with it a large amount of responsibility.
Nurses need to be compassionate, so they can treat all patients--even those who might not be in the best mood--with the utmost care. They need to be observant so they can share information that can improve patient outcomes with physicians and family members.
Patience is another quality that goes a long way toward making a nurse successful. Hospitals, clinics, schools, and other healthcare settings can be fast-paced environments. But nurses can't make rash decisions and avoidable mistakes--there is simply too much riding on their ability to get it right.
Perhaps the most important quality great nurses share is the ability to communicate. Nurses need to be able to talk to physicians, patients and families--at the same time.
The Skills All Successful Nurses Share
Nurses need to know a lot about a lot. They have to understand medications, dosages, acute care, medical technology, protocols, and how to reach lab results.
It's a lot, but it's not overwhelming for nurses who have studied hard and laid a solid foundation while earning their degrees.
Join the Most-Trusted Profession
If you are caring, compassionate, like a challenge and want to reap the rewards that come with a career in nursing, consider joining the most-trusted (and one of the most sought after) professions in the country.
If you want to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, ECPI University offers a comprehensive program. With an accelerated schedule and year-round classes you could graduate sooner and start studying for your NCLEX-RN faster. For more information, get in contact with a friendly admissions advisor.
It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!
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