What Does a Nurse Do

What Does a Nurse Do?  This is a common question for anyone interested in nursing as a career.  Nursing is a career path that can lead you down many different roads.  Although you might assume nurses simple work in hospitals and physician offices, that could not be further from the truth.  Yes, a majority do work in those settings and perform those tasks, however nurses work in various different settings and perform multiple tasks in these settings.

First, you should understand that the question asks What Does a Nurse Do.  This question depends on the actual work setting of the nurse. For example, the duties in a hospital might be much different than the duties in a school setting.  On top of that, nurses might be working in a specific area that does not require actual clinical care for a patient.

This means that some nurses might be managers while other nurses might be executives in an organization.  Here we will analyze the job description of a nurse.  If you want to understand How to Become a Registered Nurse, just click the link!  Also, if you are interested in the Registered Nurse Education Requirements, then feel free to click that link too!

What Does a Nurse do?

You will be interested to know that a Registered Nurse performs many different functions.  For now, we will discuss the tasks a Registered Nurse performs in common settings such as hospitals and physician clinics.  Some of these tasks/skills include:

  • Working with a Team of Physicians and Other Registered Nurses
  • Work with a Set Number of Patients Per Day
  • Draw Blood
  • Place IV Lines
  • Access Portacaths
  • Place NG Tubes
  • Advise Patients and Families on Care Plan
  • Work with Physician to Develop Care Plan
  • Educate Patients on Health, Wellness, and Fitness

These are some of the typical tasks that a Registered Nurse wil perform in a hospital or physician practice setting.  In a Hospital, a Registered Nurse will be assigned 4 to 6 patients for the day and will care for those patients.  90% of the time the RN will be the primary caretaker for the patient rather than a physician.  Often physicians only see patients a couple times a day which means the RN is primarily responsible for the care of that patient.


In a Physician Practice, an RN will handle the initial consultation with the patient.  For example, when a patient comes in, the first person the patient sees will be the RN.  After the initial consultation, the RN will report the status to the physician and they will discuss the proper treatment methods.

However, there are numerous other areas that nurses work in.  For example, a nurse can work as a Manager.  As a manager the nurse will work as the leadership of a hospital unit or various units.  This includes scheduling and patient intake.  Registered Nurses can even work as Executives within a hospital.  This often requires the nurse to work as a manager prior to becoming an Executive.

Finally, nurses can work in Schools, Prisons, and Community Centers.  In these settings the Nurse is normally the primary caregiver and has ultimate responsibility of the care of patients.