What Does an Inpatient Nurse Do?
An inpatient nurse works with individuals who are inpatients in a medical facility. This means the patients must remain in the facility for the duration of their treatment rather than going home and visiting a doctor for care on an as-needed basis. Under the supervision of doctors and sometimes other nursing staff members, an inpatient nurse sees to the overall needs of the patients to which he is assigned. This entails carrying out doctors' orders with regard to medications, nutrition, and exercise; checking vital signs; helping the patients with hygiene; and ensuring the patients' comfort. A person with this title often acts as an educator as well, helping patients and their families better understand and deal with the medical issues at hand.
Inpatient nurses typically work under the guidance of other medical professions, such as doctors, more experienced nurses, and sometimes nurse practitioners. Their job is to follow the medical care plans these professionals outline for patients who have been admitted to a facility, such as a hospital or a nursing home. They have the responsibility of making sure a patient receives the medications he needs, has the tests a doctor or nurse practitioner orders, eats, goes to the bathroom, and receives appropriate hygienic help. He also works to ensure that the patient is kept as comfortable as possible given his condition.
A good deal of an inpatient nurse's job involves record keeping. For example, he must record patient vital signs as well as important information such as whether and how much the patient eats and how often he goes to the bathroom. He might even be required to report on a patient's general mood in an effort to give doctors a better idea of his overall health status or recovery progress. When a nurse notes a problem with the patient, however, he may not only record it in a file or chart, but also alert a doctor. Additionally, an inpatient nurse administers emergency care when necessary.
In many cases, an inpatient nurse also takes on the role of supporter and patient educator. He often provides support for both patients and their family members as well as information about the patient's condition. For example, a nurse may teach a patient or his family member how to change a bandage or explain what a patient will likely experience in terms of symptoms or recovery. Often, he also acts as a go-between for doctors and their patients, listening to questions and concerns, and then passing them along to a doctor.
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