The Role of Nurses in Nursing Homes

How outstanding senior care makes a difference.

Discover the duties and responsibilities of a nurse at a nursing home.

A nurse working in a nursing home setting is charged with a variety of tasks. Much like any business, there are various levels of duties among the staff members. Along with caring for elderly people, staff are also responsible for overseeing other staff members and ensuring everything works well at the facility. Taking care of the elderly at a nursing home is a huge responsibility because most residents require medical attention.

Unlike in hospitals, patients in nursing homes are generally there for an extended period, which provides its own set of issues for nurses in a highly regulated industry. The nursing home environment offers the chance to positively impact our elderly, whether you are a fresh nursing graduate with a particular fondness for working with the elderly or a seasoned nurse seeking a shift of pace from the hospital setting. This article highlights the role of a nurse in a nursing home and why nursing homes are rewarding workspaces.

Types of Nurses in a Nursing Home Setting

Nursing facilities recruit nurses with varying degrees of certifications based on the needs of their residents. Registered Nurses (RNs) are the most known faces of nursing care professionals in every healthcare facility. RNs are typically aided in providing health services to nursing home residents by Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

RN Duties in a Nursing Home

Registered nurses (RNs) typically wear several daily hats to care for their patients. A registered nurse’s major responsibility is to guarantee that every patient receives the personal and appropriate care they require, and they do so in various ways.

RNs examine and identify the needs of patients before implementing and monitoring the patient’s medical plan and treatment. They also guarantee that patient care is carried out per their employer’s regulations and standards, whether in a hospital or another institution. They are not only accountable for patient care, but they must also delegate to CNAs and manage Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

So what does a day in the life of an RN look like? The main responsibilities of a Registered Nurse include:

Monitoring and Interacting with Patients

RNs are in charge of monitoring each patient’s general health. This involves examining pupils, cognitive functioning, pulse, skin, last bowel movement, urine color, scars, mobility, and fall risk, as well as evaluating the IV site for infiltration or whether a new one should be started.

You must also evaluate the patient’s lab work and diagnostic testing results and report any significant lab levels or abnormal diagnostic results to the doctors.

Recording Details

This is one of the most important aspects of nursing: detailing the medical history and present state of health of the patient. In nursing, the standard rule is, “if it wasn’t correctly recorded, it didn’t happen.”

Nurses gather a lot of data when a patient is admitted to a nursing home, including health records, insurance details, family contact details, and present vitals. Each prescription or procedure must be accurately recorded and reports completed following facility requirements.

Supervising LPNs & CNAs

Registered nurses often have more education and skills than other types of nurses. They work under the medical doctor’s direct supervision and are the nurses who serve as supervisors for other nurses. Their official title is sometimes Head Nurse. They are in charge of supervising the LPNs and CNAs and allocating the nursing assignments. They are also in charge of putting up the work schedules.

LPN Duties in a Nursing Home

In the simplest terms, Licensed Practical Nurses give regular care to the sick or injured. They collaborate with RNs and physicians to ensure that each patient’s care plan is followed, since RNs often have a broader area of practice that includes interactions with doctors and medicine administration via IVs.

Several tasks are carried out regardless of the workplace setting, and the LPN or LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) is often the first medical practitioner to engage with a patient.

Common responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Keeping a record of the patient’s history
  • Keeping track of fluid/food intake and outflow
  • Cleaning and bandaging wounded areas
  • Administering vaccinations
  • Administering medications as directed by the doctor
  • Ensuring that the release instructions are clear to the patients and their family
  • Supervising nursing assistive personnel (NAP)
  • Inputting data into computing systems
  • Safely transporting patients
  • Taking vital signs

Nursing Homes versus Assisted Living Facilities

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes offer a variety of health and personal care services. Their offerings go beyond day-to-day living assistance to include medical treatment. Nursing care, 24-hour monitoring, three meals a day, and support with daily tasks are common offerings. Additional rehabilitation options are offered, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy. After release from the hospital, some patients spend time in a nursing home, returning home after they have recovered. However, most nursing home patients live on-site for the long term, often permanently, due to continuing medical needs that require regular care and monitoring.

Working as an RN, LPN, or CNA at a nursing home entails much responsibility because the patient’s health and well-being are important. Some individuals cannot care for themselves and rely completely on the personnel. A nursing home nurse needs the appropriate education and degree for the position and must be completely devoted to their work, because it can be highly demanding.

Assisted Living Facility

Assisted living is for people who require help with their day-to-day care, but not as intensively as in a nursing home. Residents of assisted living facilities often live in their own rooms or quarters and utilize common spaces. They have access to various services, including as many as three meals a day, personal care support, medicine, housekeeping, laundry support, 24-hour oversight, safety and on-site personnel, and leisure and entertainment activities.

Nursing staff and other medical experts provide 24-hour supervision and personalized health and care services to residents in an assisted living complex. As demand for long-term healthcare services grows, many assisted living facilities face staffing constraints, particularly for registered nurse positions.

RNs and LPNs are the most common nursing jobs in assisted living, followed by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs). The degree of care at an assisted living facility is not as rigorous or extensive as in a nursing home, where residents require more assistance and may have more severe health concerns.

What Does It Mean to Be a Member of the Brooks Rehabilitation Nursing Team?

There are several compelling reasons to work at a healthcare facility. It means embarking on a rewarding profession where you will be able to give crucial care to the people in your community. You’ll see their progress, their success, and help them thrive as they walk out the door and into the world. Learn more about rehabilitation nursing and apply for one of Brooks Rehabilitation’s exciting open positions.

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