Nurse Job Description

What Does a Nurse Do?

Nurses perform a variety of functions based on their individual specialties and level of expertise. In general, there are three levels within the nursing profession (click to see specific information about each type of nurse):

Nurses act as the patient’s advocate in a clinical setting, and the majority of most nursing jobs revolve around caring for the patient before and after any medical procedures. This can include bedside care or light clinical tasks. Depending on their positions, nurses’ responsibilities may include:

  • Taking patients’ blood or urine samples
  • Administering intravenous (IV) treatments
  • Operating medical machinery
  • Administering medicine to patients
  • Feeding and aiding with patient hygiene
  • Monitoring patients’ vital signs
  • Giving patients massages and compresses
  • Aiding in the care of infants
  • Collecting specimens
  • Contributing to patient rehabilitation, including physical and emotional therapy
  • Keeping track of patient treatment and medical prescriptions to avoid adverse reactions
  • Consulting with physicians on medical treatment
  • Counseling patients and their families on treatment options, providing emotional support when needed

The environment in which nurses work is bright, comfortable and sterile, and the nature of their work requires a high degree of personal interaction. Though nurses often deal with some level of stress due to the high stakes involved with patients’ health, the majority of employed nurses find the job extremely rewarding.

Click to see an overview of nurse salaries.