Nearly everyone has had interactions with nurses. In fact, a nurse may be the first thing that comes to mind when people think of a hospital or clinic.
That's because nurses spend the most time with patients. They work with patients throughout visits to various care settings — from helping evaluate them before they see a physician to providing instructions when it's time to go home and following up with them to provide and get important updates.
Nurses treat patients of all ages — starting right at birth. Here are just some of the many types of nurses you may encounter when you need help getting healthy and staying that way:
Labor and Delivery
As soon as a mom arrives to the hospital, a labor and delivery nurse will monitor the mother and baby's vital signs. The nurse also times contractions and administers medication. After the baby is born, a nurse provides the new mother with information on breastfeeding, burping and bathing the baby.
Neonatal Intensive Care
Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses have the tiniest patients. These nurses connect premature and critically ill babies to machines that help them breathe and eat. They also hold and comfort newborns as well as change their diapers. A NICU nurse plays an important role in the baby's time at the NICU by providing updates to the family about the baby's condition.
An emergency nurse stabilizes patients who have come to the ER experiencing trauma or suffering from an injury. Emergency nurses quickly identify life-threatening problems. In less severe cases, nurses aim to minimize pain.
Medical-Surgical nurses comprise the largest group in the nursing profession. Medical-Surgical nurses care for a wide group of adult patients with a variety of conditions.
Many nurses work outside of a hospital in a variety of settings such as clinics, HMOs, skilled nursing homes and urgent care centers. These nurses are knowledgeable in all aspects of adult health, consider patient safety to be top priority and care for patients of all ages. Their focus is to keep their patients out of the hospital.
Home care nurses work with patients on a long-term basis. They regularly visit the patient's home to help them get around and manage their medication.
Nurse Practitioners include individuals who have obtained a Master's degree in nursing and are qualified to prescribe medication and make diagnoses without the assistance of a doctor.
School nurses treat students with minor illness and injuries. They provide valuable health and nutrition education. Additionally, school nurses perform tests such as vision and hearing.
Case Management Nurse
Case Management Nurses ensure patients receive the appropriate level of care and serve as an advocate for patients' needed services and plans. Case Managers plan for transitions of care, provide follow up and coordinate/communicate with the patient and family, physician(s), funding sources and community resources that provide services the patient may need.
Hospice and palliative care nurses work in collaboration with other health providers (such as physicians, social workers, or chaplains) to anticipate and meet the needs of the patient and family facing terminal illness and bereavement.