The Vital Role of Nurses in Healthcare

Nurses are one of the major pillars of the healthcare industry, providing essential care crucial for patient recovery and maintaining health systems worldwide. Their roles extend beyond patient care to include advocacy, education, and leadership within the healthcare setting.

Importance of Nurses in Healthcare

Nurses play a pivotal role in healthcare through their direct patient care, decision-making capabilities, and ability to offer emotional support to patients and their families. They are often the first point of contact for patients, assessing their needs and providing care critical to their recovery. Nurses also play a crucial role in disease prevention and management, ensuring patients adhere to prescribed treatments and understand their health conditions. Their insights are invaluable in shaping patient outcomes and influencing the broader spectrum of healthcare policy and practice.

Moreover, nurses contribute to a holistic approach to healthcare. They consider the emotional, mental, and social factors affecting a patient’s health, often leading to more comprehensive and effective care plans. By advocating for their patients, nurses ensure their patients’ safety and well-being are top priorities.

As we delve into the intricacies of this noble profession, we will also explore the four levels of frontline nursing we have at Erlanger, each signifying a different scope of responsibility and expertise.

Patient Care Techs (PCTs)

At the entry level, Patient Care Techs provide basic care while working under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN). The care PCTs provide is foundational, helping patients with day-to-day activities such as bathing, changing, and eating. They also assist the LPNs and RNs monitor the patient’s status and communicate their needs.  This role is crucial in the daily operations of healthcare facilities, providing comfort and a high quality of life to patients.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

LPNs are an integral part of our healthcare team. After one year of nursing education, they will work alongside our RNs by providing medical care, such as monitoring patient condition, administering medications, and ensuring patient comfort. In many settings, they are the main point of regular contact for patients and play a key role in updating the treatment team on patient status.

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered Nurses hold an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Their role involves assessing patients, administering medications, assisting with procedures, and working closely with doctors and other healthcare professionals to manage a patient’s care plan. RNs can also obtain an advanced certificate to further specialize in critical care, pediatrics, stroke, and trauma, to name a few.

Nurse Practitioner (NP)

Nurse Practitioners are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who often serve as primary and specialty care providers. They can diagnose conditions, prescribe medication, and initiate treatment plans. NPs hold a Master’s degree or Doctorate in nursing, providing an advanced level of healthcare emphasizing clinical and holistic patient-centered care.

Erlanger Nurses’ Future is Bright

Erlanger is thrilled to announce the arrival of 44 graduate nurses in our January 2024 Nurse Residency cohort, marking a strong start to the year in our commitment to nurturing the next generation of healthcare professionals. Looking ahead to the summer, we are excited to confirm that 115 new graduates will join our ranks. This growing influx of fresh talent is pivotal to our mission of providing exceptional care throughout the region and maintaining our status as a teaching hospital. These ambitious new nurses bring fresh perspectives and energy that enrich our team and enhance the compassionate care we offer to our community.

The importance of nurses in healthcare cannot be overstated. They provide essential care and bridge the gaps in healthcare delivery, ensuring that patients receive comprehensive and compassionate care. The various levels of nursing provide diverse opportunities for those interested in this field to grow professionally while profoundly impacting our community.