Take A Look At A Registered Nurse Job Description

Duties Of A Registered Nurse

When considering the duties of a registered nurse we need to look at a number of different aspects of the job. You need to keep in mind that a RN is one that has to deal with a lot more responsibilities than a licensed practical nurse or a licensed vocational nurse and therefore this can be a very big change for anyone who has been working as a LPN up until now. This article will highlight for you just how many different and diverse tasks are included in a registered nurse job description.


The first thing that is on the task list of the average RN nurse involves reporting everything that goes on with the patient in every way imaginable. In order to get this right you need to have a very good attention for detail. Your reports can affect how the patient is treated from that moment onwards and it is therefore your responsibility to make sure that you get it right. Patient records are big part of the RN job description so you need to make sure that you are prepared to do this.

Patient Symptoms

It is also part of the registered nurse job description to monitor the symptoms of your patients. Not only will you have to monitor them closely you will also have to make a careful not of what the symptoms are. Your reports need to be clear and concise and you will need to ensure that there can be no confusion about what you wrote. You also need to keep your eyes open for any changes that you may notice in the patient’s condition as it is your jobs to report on things such as this.

Medical Information And Vital Signs

The next important part of the basic RN job description is the monitoring of the patient’s vital signs to ensure that everything is in order in that regard and that nothing can go wrong. If you miss something when it comes to making a record of your patient’s medical information or recording their vital signs it could have very drastic consequences for the well being of your patient. Consequently you need to have a very close attention to detail and be constantly vigilant to make sure that no mistakes can be made in your patient’s care.

Treatment Plan

It is a big part of the registered nurse job description to arrange the treatment plan for your patients along with the doctor in charge of your patient’s case. Not only will you have to play a big role in the initial creation of the treatment plan but you will also need to be able to adjust the treatment plan at any time should the need arise. This means being able to spot symptoms that need a different treatment approach as well as knowing what treatments are most appropriate in the specific situation you are in.

Interaction And Communication

As a registered nurse you will need to work closely with the other health care professionals who are dealing with the same patient as you. This interaction exists in order to…

  • assess
  • plan
  • implement
  • evaluate

…the health care plan for your patient. So therefore an important aspect of the average RN job description involves being able to communicate well with others. This interaction is crucial in attaining a positive change in your patient and you should therefore b e able to work well in a team and with other professionals.

Assessing Patient’s Condition

A part of the registered nurse job description involves diagnosing your patient and seeing whether or not they have a disorder that can be dealt with by you. In order to diagnose your patient you will have to order the relevant diagnostic tests. This means knowing which tests are more appropriate for the situation and which are not. You will also have to be able to understand that outcomes of the test and analyse the information you get back in order to assess the condition that your patient is in, evaluating the diagnostic tests in the process.

Monitoring Patient Care

There are a large number of things that have to be monitored for your patient. One of these things, and this is a very important part of the RN job description, is monitoring absolutely every aspect of your patient’s care. This includes things like diet and exercise. If your patient is not eating properly, or is not moving around enough, this can have some serious consequences in the long run, so it is important that you monitor these essential aspects of your patient’s care as closely as you would monitor any other symptom that they display.


An RN has the right and the responsibility to supervise and delegate tasks to nursing professionals working under him or her. The registered nurse job description allows for you to control LPN nurses as well as carers and nursing aides. You will delegate them their responsibilities, but it is important to remember that these nurses have restrictions on what they may and may not do and if you delegate them a task that is outside of their scope of practice you will be held responsible for anything that goes wrong as a result. Your primary job in this regard is to supervise.

Treatment Preparation

Patients under you care will have to undergo numerous different treatments in the course of their stay at your health care facility or hospital. One of the things that forms a fairly big part of the RN job description is the fact that you will need to prepare your patient’s for these treatments both physically and mentally, especially when the treatment is frightening or severe. You may also be required to assist in the actual administration of the treatment, so you will need to be prepared to do that as well when it is necessary.

Ensure Proper Nursing Care

One of the things that you are monitoring the nurses under your supervision for is the degree of care that they offer the patient. Watch your nurses closely to make sure that they are doing all that is needed and expected of them, and it is advised that you ask patients about how they are being treated. This is one of the less pleasant parts of the registered nurse job description as you are basically checking your nurses to see if they are doing anything wrong. However if a patient feels that they are not being cared for properly this will reflect badly on you, so you want to be sure that everything is in order.

Environmental Assessment

Assessing a patient also involves assessing their environment. You may for example need to go to a patient’s home to ensure that everything is suitable for a patient suffering form that a particular condition. This is a very important part of the RN job description as it is part of the ongoing and continual care your patient will need to receive after they have been discharged. You may also have to assess entire communities and families, not just individual patients.


A big part of the registered nurse job description that you may not be aware of is the fact that you are not only a nurse, but also an educator. It is your job to educate patients, and sometimes even groups and entire communities, on such topics as safe childbirth and how to prevent illnesses. Basic hygiene may also fall into this category. In some cases, depending of course where you will work as an RN you may have to be involved in planning and implementing community based health care interventions aimed at healing or prevention on a large scale.

Preparation And Supplies

RN nurses are also requires to ensure that all rooms needed for a patient or for a particular procedure are ready. Everything needs to be sterilized ahead of time and everything must be in order. This is one of the slightly less interesting parts of the registered nurse job description, but it is nevertheless and essential part of the functioning of any health care organisation. You will also be required to ensure that there is sufficient stock of everything and that your doctor has everything that he or she needs for the procedure.

Monitoring Anaesthesia Reactions And Condition

When a patient is under anaesthesia in an operating setting it is one of the important parts of the registered nurse job description that you monitor the patient’s condition so that the doctor can focus on the actual procedure without having to worry about the patient’s reaction to the anaesthesia or whether or not they will wake up. In an operating room you may be required to do a number of things but this is one of the more common and essential roles of a registered nurse in this content, so you need to be prepared to deal with this.


In a healthcare setting it is often part of the RN job description to help in the delivery of babies, sometimes even doing the entire delivery yourself, and to provide both prenatal and postpartum care for the baby and its mother. This is often seen as a specialty and not all registered nurses will find themselves doing this on a daily basis. Usually you get some special training in order to do this part of the job and you generally don’t move between departments, but that you stay in the maternity ward.

Anaesthetic Administration

When you are a registered nurse you will be responsible for the administration of various kinds of anaesthetics. This is a very important part of the registered nurse job description and one that requires a lot of attention to detail and care if you want to avoid making a mistake. In these situations there are problems that can arise if you give too little or too much, so you need to know what you are doing and be able to administer the accurate dosage every time. This is a big responsibility placed on the shoulders of registered nurses.

Settings Outside Of The Hospital

In some cases a registered nurse may be required to work in settings outside of the hospital, such as in a school or industrial setting in order to provide onsite care. The things you may have to do in these settings as part of your RN job description are:

  • Providing health care
  • Providing first aid
  • Giving immunizations
  • Assisting in convalescence and rehabilitation

In your mind you may see registered nurses as being tied to hospital or nursing home settings, but there are a variety of other places where they may work as well.

Operating Room

As mentioned previously part of the registered nurse job description involves monitoring the patient’s response to and condition under anaesthesia in the operating room scenario. Another thing that you will need to do in the operating room is be on hand to give things, such as equipment and implements, to the surgeon that he needs in order to complete the operation. This is a very important responsibility as it frees the doctor up to focus more intensively on what he is doing and allows for the entire process to go a lot more smoothly form beginning to end.


In some cases part of you registered nurse job description may be to engage in research in order to find things out either about a patient in particular or about a disorder or something else related to the medical field. This is usually only the case in certain facilities where RN nurses are employed but it can be something that you may have to do so be aware of this option.

Now that you are aware of what the registered nurse job description entails you should be better equipped to make a final decision regarding whether or not this is the best line of work for you or if you would be better suited somewhere else.

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