Career Development

What Does a General Nurse Do?

Find out what a General Nurse does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a General Nurse.

The General Nurse plays an essential role in healthcare settings, acting as a linchpin for delivering patient care and ensuring smooth operations within medical facilities. This position involves a broad range of responsibilities, from monitoring patient health to administering treatments and medications, all while maintaining compassionate communication with patients and their families. General Nurses collaborate closely with a multidisciplinary team, adapting to the needs of various departments and providing support wherever it’s most needed. Their adaptability and comprehensive skill set enable them to meet diverse patient needs, making them indispensable in fostering positive health outcomes and enhancing the overall patient experience.

General Nurse Job Duties

  • Administer medications and treatments to patients as prescribed by physicians, ensuring proper dosage and monitoring for side effects.
  • Perform physical assessments of patients to identify health needs and monitor changes in condition, including vital signs, weight, and overall physical well-being.
  • Educate patients and their families on health maintenance and disease prevention, providing information on medication management, dietary restrictions, and lifestyle modifications.
  • Coordinate patient care with other healthcare professionals, including doctors, specialists, and therapists, to ensure a comprehensive approach to health management.
  • Document patient care and progress notes accurately and comprehensively in electronic health records, maintaining confidentiality and compliance with healthcare regulations.
  • Assist in minor surgical procedures, providing direct support to physicians by preparing surgical sites, passing instruments, and ensuring a sterile environment.
  • Manage wound care for patients, including dressing changes, monitoring for signs of infection, and providing instructions on wound care at home.
  • Participate in emergency response teams within the healthcare facility, providing immediate care and stabilization to patients in critical condition until further medical treatment can be administered.

General Nurse Salary & Outlook

Factors affecting a General Nurse’s salary include years of experience, specialization within nursing (e.g., pediatric, surgical), type of employer (hospital, private practice, nursing home), shift differentials (night, weekend shifts), and the demand for nursing skills in specific healthcare areas. Union representation can also play a role in salary negotiations.

  • Median Annual Salary: $69,825 ($33.57/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $105,000 ($50.48/hour)

The employment of general nurses is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

This growth is driven by an aging population requiring more healthcare services, increased prevalence of chronic conditions, and a broader emphasis on preventive care. Additionally, healthcare settings are expanding beyond hospitals to outpatient care centers, further boosting demand for General Nurses’ versatile skills.

General Nurse Job Requirements

Education: A General Nurse typically pursues education in nursing or health sciences, with a focus on courses like anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and patient care. Majors often include Nursing or a related health field. Educational pathways vary, with many holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN), while others may have an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Post-Secondary Certificate in Nursing, reflecting diverse entry points into the profession. Advanced courses in specialized nursing practices are also common.

Experience: General Nurses often enter the field with varied levels of hands-on experience, ranging from seasoned practitioners to those new to the profession. The role demands practical skills in patient care, which are typically honed through on-the-job training and specialized training programs. Experience in specific healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or community health environments, is valuable. Additionally, exposure to different medical departments, such as emergency, pediatrics, or geriatrics, enriches a nurse’s capability to provide comprehensive care. Continuous professional development through workshops and seminars is also essential to keep abreast of the latest in nursing practices.

Certifications & Licenses: General Nurses must hold an active Registered Nurse (RN) license, obtained by passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) from the American Heart Association are commonly required. Specialized areas may require additional certifications, such as Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) for those working with children.

General Nurse Skills

Patient Assessment: Nurses gather and analyze data on a patient’s physical state, medical history, and current symptoms to develop treatment plans and ensure comprehensive care. They possess a keen eye for detail and strong communication skills, enabling them to fully grasp patients’ concerns and health needs.

Medication Administration: Nurses ensure accurate dosages and timely delivery of medications, requiring meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of pharmacology. They coordinate with healthcare teams and communicate effectively with patients about their treatment plans, quickly addressing any adverse reactions or medication errors.

Wound Care: The management and assessment of patients’ wounds are handled with sterile techniques and evidence-based practices to promote healing and prevent infection. Nurses also provide education on proper wound care at home, offering a holistic approach to recovery.

Emergency Response: In critical conditions, nurses assess and stabilize patients, utilizing a calm demeanor and quick decision-making to initiate life-saving procedures. They are proficient in managing emergency equipment, such as defibrillators and intubation tools, ensuring a rapid response to cardiac arrests, trauma, and other acute medical events.

Patient Education: Nurses effectively communicate complex medical instructions and health information, ensuring patients and their families understand and adhere to treatment plans. They adapt their communication styles to meet diverse patient needs, facilitating effective healthcare outcomes through informed decision-making.

Infection Control: Adherence to sterilization protocols and the use of personal protective equipment are standard practices for nurses to prevent the spread of infections among patients and healthcare staff. They also instruct patients and their families on hygiene practices to further protect against healthcare-associated infections.

General Nurse Work Environment

General Nurses often find themselves in a dynamic environment where adaptability is paramount. Their workspace, typically within hospitals or clinics, is shared among a team, fostering a collaborative atmosphere. The physical setting demands constant mobility, with nurses navigating through wards, patient rooms, and treatment areas equipped with medical tools and technology essential for patient care.

Work hours for nurses are varied, including shifts that cover day, night, and weekends, reflecting the round-the-clock nature of healthcare. This scheduling, while offering some flexibility, also necessitates a commitment to work-life balance. The dress code is usually standardized, with scrubs being the norm, prioritizing hygiene and functionality.

The emotional landscape is diverse, with nurses often encountering situations that require both compassion and resilience. Interaction with patients and colleagues is a constant, underscoring the importance of communication skills. Despite the challenges, opportunities for professional development abound, with the healthcare sector valuing continuous learning and advancement.

Advancement Prospects

General Nurses have a broad spectrum of advancement prospects, ranging from specialized clinical roles to leadership positions. To transition into specialized care, such as pediatrics or oncology, gaining experience in relevant departments is crucial. This hands-on experience is often a prerequisite for moving into these focused areas.

For those inclined towards leadership, positions like Nurse Manager or Head Nurse are attainable through demonstrating strong leadership skills and a deep understanding of healthcare operations. Excelling in these roles requires a blend of clinical expertise and the ability to manage both staff and resources effectively.

Advancing in nursing often involves a mix of on-the-job experience and, in some cases, additional qualifications specific to the desired role. For instance, moving into a Nurse Practitioner position would necessitate further education alongside clinical experience. Each step forward on the career path combines practical experience with a deepening of specialized knowledge.


What Does a Procurement Associate Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Prepress Operator Do?