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What Are the Everyday Roles and Responsibilities of a Nurse?

The roles and responsibilities of a nurse can depend on the type of nursing you specialise in. For example, a midwife’s role is different from a cardiac nurse as they’re two very different specialisms. Whether you’re looking to start your exciting career as a nurse or you want to do even more for your patients, here are the everyday roles and responsibilities of every type of nurse.



What Does a Nurse Do?

Nurses plan and provide medical and nursing care to patients. This can be in a hospital, home, school or any other settings where people are suffering from physical or mental ill health. 


As a nurse, you’ll work as part of a team of professional and medical staff, such as other nurses, doctors, social workers, therapists and more. Nurses are caring, compassionate and have the skills to deal with high emotional and pressurised situations.


For every type of nurse, the typical day is always busy and varied. One minute you could be administering medicine and treatments and the next, you’re looking after patients and their families.


Although the levels of responsibility are different between nursing levels, the duties are quite similar. So, what are the responsibilities of a nurse?


What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Nurse?

Being a nurse is more than just being in a full-time job. Any type of nurse is highly-skilled where every day is different and sometimes more challenging than the last.


  • Assisting doctors with physical examinations and care plans.
  • Informing patients and their relatives regarding what’s happening.
  • Taking patients’ temperatures, checking their blood pressure and pulse rates.
  • Taking blood samples.
  • Using different medical equipment and cleaning them.
  • Recording and handling sensitive, confidential information.
  • Performing assessments of patients’ conditions.
  • Cleaning and dressing wounds.
  • Administering injections and medication.
  • Setting up drips and blood transfusions.
  • Checking on patients’ progress.
  • Tutoring student nurses when experienced.
  • Managing IV lines.
  • Offering general care and support for patients and families.
  • Communication with doctors and other medical staff.
  • Providing emotional support.
  • Advising patients on how to self-administer medication and therapy.
  • Education patients and family members on medical conditions and health management best practices.
  • Assessing and planning care requirements.
  • Organising workloads for the team.
  • Supervising junior staff.
  • Providing pre- and post-operation care.
  • Gain the trust and confidence of each patient.
  • Plan admissions and discharges to and from hospitals.
  • Write patient care plans.
  • Carry out care procedures and assessments.
  • Make important judgement calls when required.
  • Take detailed health histories.
  • Listen to patients while analysing their physical and emotional needs.
  • Provide counselling and education to patients.
  • Coordinate with specialists and other departments.
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge with advances in healthcare, medications, equipment and treatment plans.
  • Check vital signs.
  • Have difficult conversations compassionately.
  • Treat emergency injuries.


What Skills Do Nurses Need?

Although each nurse is different and has different strengths and weaknesses than others, there are some general skills that make for a wonderful nurse.


  • Cultural Awareness: Understanding different cultural beliefs and values influence a patient’s views on health, wellness and more.
  • Professional: Staying professional in front of patients and colleagues which includes showing respect, a positive attitude and discipline.
  • Critical Thinking: Nurses must be good problem-solvers and think fast in pressure situations.
  • Time Management: Being able to prioritise work and staying organised.
  • Communication: Nurses are the important links between patients and care providers. You’ll need to communicate effectively by staying calm, professional and reassuring.
  • Caring Nature: Every interaction with a patient and their family can leave an impact on their lives, so being self-aware and emotionally intelligent are vital traits.


Some other skills that are important for nurses to have include confidence, attention to detail, endurance for long shifts and teamwork. Having all of these can help you progress even further in your nursing career.


If you enjoy having the delicate responsibility of caring for the sick and injured, then nursing could be the perfect career for you. 


Why Become a Nurse?

Although the shifts can be long and you’re in high-pressure situations, nothing compares to the emotional rewards of caring for someone when they most need it.


You also have many nursing specialisms you can focus on, all of which are exciting, present their own challenges and have more unique roles and responsibilities. As important as it is to look after your patients, self-care is also essential as a nurse.


There’s no career out there more rewarding than being a nurse. It gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others by giving care to those in their time of need. This is especially the case right now during the current pandemic, as nurses are finally more appreciated than ever before. 


If you want to experience the challenging, exciting and rewarding roles and responsibilities of a nurse, we have a resource that will help you stay prepared regardless of the nursing path you decide to take.


Prepare for Your Nursing Interview Today With Our Guide

Interviews for any role can be nervous experiences. In a nursing role, it’s important to leave a good impression so interviewers know they’re hiring somebody compassionate and skilled. To help you begin your journey, take a look at our interview guide.


It’s full of useful tips and practice questions, specifically tailored for nurses. Get your copy using the button below.


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