What Does a Nurse Trainee Do?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Nurses are care providers who have more direct contact with patients than any other medical professional. The duties of a nurse can vary significantly according to the setting in which he or she works, as well as state, local, or regional laws and regulations. It is therefore necessary for nurses to undergo plenty of training before being entrusted with the care of patients. A nurse trainee is a person who is in the process of learning the skills and techniques necessary to be a successful nurse. It is likely the nurse trainee will take part in a combination of classroom learning and hands-on practice.

The specific rules by which a nurse trainee must abide can vary significantly. In some cases, the trainee will first need to complete a nursing degree program before he or she can be considered for placing as a nurse trainee. In other cases, the student is a trainee who is earning a degree and working at the same time. In either case, the trainee will be expected to perform job duties under the guidance and supervision of a more experienced nurse; the trainee will rarely, if ever, provide medical care without a supervisor watching.


It is also usually necessary for the nurse trainee to earn specific licenses or certifications in order to work in medical settings. This can be done as part of a traineeship, and the nurse will basically study for such examinations while working on the job. The nurse must pass all certification or licensing exams successfully before he or she can be considered a full-time nurse who can work independently.

In some scenarios, a nurse trainee may only be qualified to perform certain duties, even after the traineeship concludes. Such nurses generally are not licensed but are instead trained in specific types of nursing, either from a private facility or a public medical facility. Again, the rules and regulations regarding such traineeships can vary significantly by region.

As a trainee, the nurse is likely to start by performing only the most basic tasks, and usually only under strict guidance and supervision. As the traineeship progresses, the nurse trainee is likely to take on more complex tasks, again under direct guidance and supervision. By the end of the traineeship period, the trainee should be able to perform most, if not all, vital duties of a regular nurse without supervision or direct guidance.



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