Nurse talking to a patient

Nurse Talk: Which Career Path Should I Choose?

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As a registered nurse, you play a very versatile role in the medical field. After graduating and getting certified, you can choose from many career paths found in different areas of health care. One thing for sure is that you’ll be required to perform many duties in the different jobs that you do. You assist during surgeries, record patient symptoms, do lab work, and a lot more.

The exact duties rely on the type of career path that you choose and where you work. The nursing field is always expanding, with nurses accounting for 30% of healthcare job postings. There’s a great demand for roles to be filled, especially for these following areas:

1. Rehabilitation Centers for People With Disabilities

According to Discover Nursing Australia, over 4 million Australians have some form of disability. As a registered nurse, you can assist these individuals in attaining a normal and independent life. This means helping them regain abilities they lost or gain ones they have yet to learn. These may include daily activities like walking, talking, and eating.

As a nurse, you don’t only take care of your patients’ physical health. You help them with their mental and emotional states as well. You work closely with their loved ones to provide them with support and strength.

2. Hospitals and Physician’s Offices

A classic role is a bedside nurse — one who works in hospitals. In this highly demanding environment, you supervise and care for a wide variety of patients. They have different illnesses and emergencies, so you usually gain training in a specialisation. Examples would be surgical nursing and neonatal intensive care.

There is also the possibility of working for a private practice. You work a 9am to 5pm shift in a condition-specific clinic. Your duties include conducting patient assessments, administering medication and arranging patient follow-ups.

3. Residential Aged Care Facilities

Nurse supporting old woman to sit at the nursing homes

Most nursing homes have registered and enrolled nurses to take care of their residents. In high-care facilities, you assist frail and aged residents with their daily activities. The services that nursing homes offer may vary from one facility to another. Primary services include personal care (dressing, bathing, toilet assistance). There’s also administering medication and interacting with the residents’ families.

As a registered nurse, you have the supervisory role in a nursing home. You work under the direct supervision of the medical doctor. You also oversee the other nurses in the facility. Additionally, it’s your responsibility as Head Nurse to monitor the condition of the residents. You ensure that they get proper care. This means taking their vital signs, initiating treatment plans, and reporting the residents’ health to their families.

4. Home health care services

Home health care services provide personal health care in the patient’s home. As a nurse, you typically adhere to a physician-approved plan for your patient. Your duties also depend on your credentials. Responsibilities may range from wound care and medication management to speech and occupational therapy.

This career path is great if you don’t like working in facilities or institutions. A perk of working in home health care is that it gives you a more personal, one-on-one patient experience.

Part of the beauty of nursing is that it’s meaningful work. On a daily basis, nurses do so much for so many people. No matter where you work or what your specialisation is, you make a difference. With so many roles that you can take on, you are always ready to serve anyone who needs special care.

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