Hospitals and Service, Information and Reviewers

The heart of the hospital: why nurses are so important

A hospital is one of the busiest places on Earth and can be an extremely stressful environment to work in. Hospitals may be filled with doctors, patients and medical equipment, but hospitals would come to a grinding halt without nurses.

Nurses are the driving force behind patient care in hospitals. They work tirelessly to ensure that patients have everything they need. Hospitals would not be able to function appropriately without nurses, so they deserve every bit of respect they get.

Read on to discover why nurses are crucial in hospitals and how you can advance your nursing career today.

An overview of nurses

Nurses are professionals who have received sufficient training to provide medical care. Nurses offer a broad range of services, including helping patients get better, teaching patients how to manage their conditions at home, and providing crucial emotional support.

They work under the supervision of physicians and other healthcare providers and often make decisions that may influence the course of a patient’s treatment. Nurses provide hands-on care for most hospitalized patients in every specialty area, including surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, cardiology, and many more.

They also play an essential role in training new nurses. Most hospitals require new nurses to complete clinical rotations with experienced nurses before being assigned as charge nurses on a specific unit.

Elmhurst University offers accredited nursing programs online if you wish to become a nurse. The program is designed to take only two years and prepares graduates to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

By leveraging these accredited programs, you will gain invaluable knowledge and find yourself surrounded by qualified instructors and well-versed peers. With this degree, you will be able to apply your skillset in hospital settings or elsewhere in healthcare.

Why the role of nurses is important in a hospital

As the population ages, healthcare demands grow, and technology advances, the need for nurses also rises. Nurses are essential because they help keep patients safe, monitor their health and wellness, and deliver the care that keeps them healthy and happy.

Nurses provide hands-on patient care and ensure that the patient’s needs are met during their stay in the hospital. They work closely with doctors to ensure that a patient’s treatment plan is followed precisely.

Focusing on this profession will lead to a satisfying career and an essential societal role as we try to meet our growing needs. To better understand the importance of their role, let’s take a closer look at various nursing responsibilities in hospitals.

Recording medical history and symptoms

Nurses record patients’ medical history and symptoms before a doctor sees them. This action helps with diagnosis and treatment.

Nurses may also take blood pressure readings and temperature, among other things. As a nurse, you must record these numbers as soon as possible after taking them because many factors can change these figures over time.

For example, your body will produce more heat when sitting or lying down than when you are standing or walking. Another factor that affects measurements taken on the same person is stress levels. When people get stressed, their heart rate increases, and sometimes it takes hours to go back to normal.

In this way, nurses’ data collection efforts contribute enormous amounts of information about what might happen to a patient at any given moment.

A nurse must note any changes in these values on the chart so that doctors know what’s happening. It’s also vital to measure them under consistent conditions so that physicians can compare different results easily.

Administering medications and treatments

When a patient receives a prescription for certain medications or treatments, nurses are responsible for administering them.

They employ their vast knowledge of pharmacology and the human body to help ensure the proper administering of the medication in the correct dosage at the appropriate time.

Nurses may also be responsible for adjusting dosages as necessary, especially if patients do not respond well to the treatment. These professionals also receive training to help patients cope with the side effects of the treatment and manage any pain they may be experiencing.

As the medical world progresses, nurses must stay up to date with all new technologies and medicines to better serve their patients in need.

Nurses not only administer medications and treatments, but they also document every procedure. They should be certain that all necessary supplies are available and up to date before administering medication.

Develop and implement treatment plans

A nurse is responsible for developing and implementing treatment plans. This role includes developing a plan of care, delegating tasks to others, and evaluating the effectiveness of treatments.

The development of treatment plans should always be per clinical guidelines, research and best practices. It’s the nurse’s job to create a plan of care based on an assessment they conducted to meet their patients’ needs while working within their resources.

For instance, if a patient needs assistance with eating or breathing, then the nursing staff would assess their needs and delegate tasks accordingly. If they are not able to do so, then they will seek additional help from other members of their team.

A nurse can be on either the general or specialty side. General nurses work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, schools, etc., whereas specialty nurses focus on one area, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.

Evaluate outcomes of patient care

Evaluating the outcomes of patient care refers to assessing how well a patient responded to a particular treatment. Nurses are instrumental in evaluating how effective treatments are and deciding whether to make changes or adopt a new approach.

The extent of this responsibility varies based on what type of nursing career someone pursues, such as an operating room nurse, an intensive care nurse, or an emergency room nurse.

However, all nurses are responsible for evaluating how successful their work is with each patient they encounter. This action takes place primarily after discharge from hospitalization, but can occur at any time during a patient’s course of care.

A common way that nurses evaluate the outcome of their work with patients is through health-related quality measures (HRQM). For example, nurses must know whether the patient’s cancer cells respond to therapy when providing chemotherapy infusions. That way, nurses will understand how much more chemo is needed and whether they should consider other medical interventions.

Maintain patient confidentiality

Nurses are responsible for maintaining patient confidentiality. Anything that a nurse sees or hears about a patient is supposed to stay private and should not be shared with anyone else.

It’s one of the most critical aspects of nursing, and nurses who don’t honor this responsibility could lose their license to practice in some jurisdictions. Some nurses have to deal with sensitive information from time to time, including a rape victim telling her story or discussing personal medical details.

The nurse often has to document discussions without identifying who said what. Patients sometimes worry about whether they can trust their nurse, but they must do so and put all their trust into the person caring for them.

Provide advocacy to patients/families

Nurses are essential healthcare team members because they understand the patient’s needs in depth. They also have extensive knowledge about drugs and treatments, so they often liaise between patients and doctors.

Nurses are advocates for patients/families by assessing their needs and recommending care options to the doctor or other medical personnel. They often make recommendations based on research that may not be readily available to the physician caring for a particular patient.

Nurses can help patients make decisions regarding treatment plans and medication options, which will help them feel more empowered with their healthcare decisions.

For instance, nurses may work with a family to determine the best way to manage pain after surgery. They might explain what medications are available, how long recovery will take, and how best to take them.

Generally, advocacy ensures that people have all the information they need to make informed decisions. Advocacy isn’t always easy, but it can be gratifying when someone successfully gains access to needed resources for themselves or their loved ones.

Interpret patient information for other team members

Nurses are responsible for interpreting patient information for other team members. Interpretation may involve explaining test results or medication orders, understanding patient needs, and much more.

For example, if a physician needs to know the dosage amount of a particular drug, it is up to the nurse to provide that data. This role requires a certain level of expertise to get the most accurate interpretation possible.

For instance, nurses must have strong analytical skills to gather all the necessary information before concluding. They must also be great communicators as decoding information for other team members can sometimes be tricky.

Interpreting this data means breaking down medical terms into layman’s terms, which requires excellent verbal and written communication skills. Additionally, with many pieces of vital information involved, nurses are responsible for organizing everything well enough for others on their care team.

Conducting physical examinations

Nurses are responsible for conducting physical examinations to diagnose and manage the condition when a patient is experiencing acute symptoms such as chest pain, nausea or high fever.

For example, suppose an exam reveals elevated blood pressure readings or abnormal heartbeats that could be indicative of an illness such as congestive heart failure. In that case, the nurse will instruct the patient on how to monitor their vital signs and take medications appropriately.

A nurse may conduct a physical examination by taking the patient’s vital signs, checking their pulse and blood pressure, palpating their abdomen, or examining their neurological state.

This examination is all done to give a complete picture of the patient’s health and understand what is causing any symptoms they are experiencing.

Nurses can also use the information gathered during this process to educate patients about how their body works to encourage good self-care practices.

Operating medical equipment

With more technological advancements gracing the world, the healthcare industry has seen an influx of medical equipment. Some of this equipment includes respirators, ventilators and CPAP machines.

As a result, nurses have taken on more responsibility for operating these machines. In addition, nurses are responsible for monitoring and analyzing data from these machines. Nurses check and operate medical equipment before and after patient visits.

This action can include examining the equipment to ensure that it is functioning well, checking the machine settings, and determining whether any errors or alerts need addressing. Doing so reduces the risk of malpractice lawsuits by ensuring that equipment is in good working order.

It also ensures that all staff members know how to use the equipment safely. The nurse is also responsible for teaching patients how to use their devices, such as pulse oximeters and nebulizers (depending on their care plan).

Educating patients about how to manage an illness

Nurses have a lot of responsibility when it comes to educating patients about their illnesses – for example, helping them understand what’s going on with their bodies and how to manage the symptoms of their condition.

Nurses can also provide counseling for stress management, coping strategies and care plans. However, nurses don’t just teach patients about their illnesses.

Physicians also expect nurses to educate the family members or friends who come into contact with the patient. This knowledge is fundamental because it helps patients feel more confident managing their illnesses.

Maintaining inventory

Inventory management is a vital aspect of any healthcare facility. It ensures that the right supplies are available for the right patient at the right time and that nothing gets wasted or forgotten.

Nurses are responsible for checking and maintaining the inventory of medical supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals. Inventory management includes:

  • Checking items in and out on the inventory sheet.
  • Following up on any missing or damaged items.
  • Arranging for delivery of replacements as needed.

Nurses also ensure that expired medications are disposed of properly. It’s not just about keeping track of what’s on hand – nurses must also maintain accurate usage records.

Providing basic bedside care

The tasks that nurses perform daily have an enormous impact on the quality of life for patients and their families. Nurses are the first to respond when a patient requires assistance.

They provide basic bedside care, such as helping patients use the bathroom or cleaning up their messes, taking vital signs, and tracking a patient’s pain level.

Basic bedside care ensures that patients admitted to the hospital are cared for with dignity. It also helps nurses gauge how well a patient is doing so that they can report any status changes quickly.

Other types of environments that nurses can work in

Nurses can work in various environments, from hospitals and offices to homes and schools. These places have unique challenges, but they all rely on the daily skills that you, as a nurse, bring to your work environment. Some of them include the following.


Nurses work in clinics to provide medical care for their patients. They diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries with the help of various other health professionals, such as physicians, physician assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, lab technicians, and more.


Nurse practitioners are a type of nurse who can diagnose and treat minor illnesses without the help of a physician. Schools may employ nurses to teach students about health, care for sick children, or administer vaccinations.

They might also provide preventative care such as vaccines, health screenings, and counseling on nutrition and exercise. Nursing is often part-time, so some school nurses are teachers and must balance both careers.

Correctional facilities

Nurses may provide medical care for the inmates on-site or be on call for emergencies within the facility at any time.

Homeless shelters

Nurses are an invaluable resource for homeless shelters. They provide medical care and advice to clients and serve as positive role models for those struggling with addiction or mental health issues.

Rehabilitation centers

Nurses can work in rehab centers to help patients regain the skills and physical abilities they lost during an illness or injury. Rehabilitation nurses provide around-the-clock care, monitor progress, and advise on how to live independently again.

They also teach patients how to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Rehab nurses might also work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other facilities that serve people with chronic illnesses.

Senior care homes

Nursing in senior care homes can be a rewarding experience for nurses. Working with elderly patients often positively affects the patient’s mood, and satisfaction comes with seeing your efforts make an impact on the lives of others.

The work can also be emotionally challenging as you deal with death, loss and other difficult situations. However, with proper training, these aspects are manageable.

Wrapping up

Nurses are on the frontlines of healthcare. They are the ones who help patients and their families through difficult times and make sure that they get the care they need.

Nurses are instrumental in every aspect of healthcare – without them, health professionals would be unable to provide quality patient care.

Their role is crucial in a hospital because they are always with the patients and care for them as best as possible. Many nurses go above and beyond when it comes to caring for their patients, which makes them so amazing!

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