Nurses are the backbone of our health care system, providing different types of care in a variety of health care settings. Do you ever wonder what the difference is between the many types of nurses? Knowing what each type of nurse does can give us a clearer picture of how they help our communities. Here’s an overview of some common nursing roles.
Registered nurse (RN)
Registered nurses are licensed medical professionals who can work in a variety of settings, like hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, urgent care centers, schools, and more. RNs monitor patients, educate them about their health, and perform diagnostic tests and medical procedures alongside a doctor.
Nurse practitioner (NP)
Like RNs, a nurse practitioner provides care for patients in a variety of medical settings. However, nurse practitioners can make more direct decisions for their patients. Like a doctor, an NP can prescribe medication, order tests, and give diagnoses.
Labor and delivery (L&D) nurse
A labor and delivery nurse works to care for newborns and mothers before, during, and after birth. The birthing process and postpartum experience can have varied outcomes and require very particular care and support. L&D nurses work with OB-GYNs to monitor patient vitals and educate parents about their new role.
Like L&D nurses, pediatric nurses have a specific area of focus. They provide care for children from birth through adolescence. Pediatric nurses perform diagnostic testing and administer treatments, but they do so in a unique way to connect with their much younger patients.
Other types of nurses
There are many other types of nurses who have specific areas of expertise. For example, ER nurses work in the emergency room, while oncology nurses work with patients who have cancer. Learn more about the many other types of nurses or ask the nurses in your life to tell you more about their area of expertise.
Wisdom from our AmeriHealth nurses
AmeriHealth nurses Kathleen Gee, RN, MS; Janine McGettigan, RN; and Jessica Ford, BSN RN, work with our members to help them stay healthier. They love what they do, and they encourage anyone considering a career in nursing or nurses who want to change their career path to explore the many ways nurses can make a difference. “Find the type of nursing that makes you happy and go with it,” Kathleen says.
Nursing is one of the toughest jobs, and we’re grateful for nurses’ hard work and dedication to the people they care for. As Janine says, “Nurses are the backbone of the health care community and provide an irreplaceable service. Love your superpower!”
Burnout is an issue that many nurses deal with, and it’s one that has become an even bigger concern during the pandemic. We encourage nurses to prioritize their mental health as much as possible. AmeriHealth members can use Embrace Well-being to easily keep up with their mental and physical health. “Remember that we are the frontliners in health care,” Jessica says. “Always stay strong and never lose that nursing heart!”