Nursing Roles Outside the Hospital

Nursing Roles Outside the Hospital

Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in our state as well as in the nation. Chances are that a nurse has cared for you or someone you know in a hospital, which is an acute-care setting. In these settings, patients receive active but short-term treatment for a severe injury, an episode of an illness, an urgent medical condition or during recovery from surgery.

But did you know the women and men who are registered nurses serve all communities, and work in various non-acute care settings around the country? Examples of non-acute care settings incude clinics, long-term care, community health, schools and public health.

Nurses’ work is exciting and rewarding, because no matter the setting, nurses help people be as healthy as possible. We talked to several nurses who work in non-acute care settings around Washington and asked them about their roles and responsibilities. Hear what they had to say and see if you can picture yourself in any of the roles.
Cate_Armstrong

Cate Armstrong, a licensed practical nurse in a health clinic

What are your top three responsibilities that you would highlight?

 

  • Patient care is always #1! As the clinical staff lead, I try to impress upon all of the staff how important it is to treat all the patients as if they were your own family member or yourself.
  • Healthy Planet Program (population health). I work to do my part in meeting my organization’s commitment to reduce and prevent chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, and preventing disease through immunizations.
  • Making sure the staff (back and front office) and providers are working together as a care team.

What’s something that might surprise others about your role?

    While I can’t do as much as a registered nurse, I am making so much positive impact on patients and on for the organization I work for. LPNs are a crucial part of the health care team!

L. Sawyer Robertson, a correctional health nurse

What are your top three responsibilities that you would highlight?

  • Safety and security
  • Providing safe quality health care
  • Providing prompt emergency health care

How would you describe the demand for your nursing role?

    There is a very high demand for correctional nurses.

Jan Wendt, a maternal and child health nurse with public health

How would you describe a “day in the life” of a public health nurse?

I work with lots of people in different programs that help kids. A day in my role never seems to look the same! For example, I go to people’s homes and help pregnant women have healthy pregnancies and prepare to become great moms; then I help those same new moms (and sometimes new dads) become better parents. I occasionally teach teen parents at an alternative high school; and I visit day care centers and do health and safety checks.

Yolanda Fong, a supervisor of Chronic Disease Prevention with public health

How would you describe a “day in the life” of a public health nurse?

My job is ever-changing. I don’t do direct care; instead, I supervise programs that work to prevent chronic diseases in the community. Chronic disease is long-term, associated with many risk factors, and in most cases, cannot be cured. Heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are some of the most common chronic diseases we address in public health.

What are your top three responsibilities that you would highlight?

I work to make the community a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. I do this in partnership with a wide verity of community organizations and members. For example, I recently worked on putting together a resource for teachers and staff in early learning centers to promote healthy eating and physical activity in the classroom. I often find myself in places that people would not traditional expect to see a nurse. For example, we are currently working with cities to promote health.

How could students get a nursing role like yours in the future?

It is beneficial to have a least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, especially from a program that has a strong community health rotation.

David Reyes, a university nursing professor

What are your top three responsibilities that you would highlight?

  • Teaching students and supporting them to succeed
  • Engaging in scholarship activities that benefit the communities that I work with to improve their quality of life and inform my teaching and research,
  • My professional service activities, which could be participating on a professional board or serving on a university committee

How would you describe the demand for your nursing role?

There is a great demand for nurse educators, particularly in the face of retirement for the “baby boomer” generation, which compounds the current shortage of nursing faculty. Until we get enough educators, nursing schools will turn away qualified students who apply.