Nursing as a profession is not only an important but also a fast-growing career that combines the art of taking care of the sick by using science and technology. Even though doctors and registered nurses comprise of a significant number of healthcare professionals, staff nurses lately make up the largest group of healthcare workers offering healthcare services to a wider number of sick people in need of medical attention. Before proceeding, a staff nurse is defined as a hospital nurse whose rank is slightly below that of a charge nurse. What then do staff nurses do? Are their roles different in any way from that of registered nurses? If so, how different are they?
The Scope of Work of a Staff Nurse
A staff nurse is supposed to manage patient care and subsequent recovery. Staff nurses work on helping individuals who have undergone injuries, from illnesses to accidents. Staff nurses are on most occasions the first healthcare professionals that one is likely to encounter when a visit to a hospital or any other healthcare facility becomes a necessity.
Before a doctor or a nurse practitioner arrive, staff nurses usually assess a patient’s condition while taking vital reports so that the doctor can assess the patient more thoroughly. Under the orders of the doctor, a staff nurse will administer medications and injections in addition to helping doctors in the process of diagnostic testing. Staff nurses are a part of aftercare as well, whether that means educating the patients about what to do after leaving the hospital, or preparing patients for discharge.
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Depending on where they are employed – the size and scope of the hospital, for instance – the job description of a staff nurse can be very wide, or very specialized. Staff nurses coordinate and provide patient care alongside doctors and nurse practitioners; they are also essential to providing patients and family members with information, and providing emotional support and advice. Staff nurses in specialized areas of the hospital, such as intensive care or NICU, may have more defined roles, and require specialized certifications.
Staff nurses vs RN: One and the Same?
As noted earlier, a staff nurse is an individual lower in rank when compared to a nurse in charge. On the other hand, just as the name suggests, a staff registered nurse (RN) is a fully qualified nurse who has undergone necessary training and successfully graduated from a program in nursing. In other words, a registered nurse is a person who is licensed to practice and offer healthcare services either by state, country or province. A staff nurse must be an RN.
What is a Staff Nurse Salary Expectation?
There is a lot of variation in the salary expectations for staff nurses, again depending on the size of the hospital, their specialization, and other similar factors. In hospitals that require staff nurses to hold a BSN – which should be a requirement for hospital nurses by 2020, according to the Institute of Medicine – base salaries for staff nurses may be higher. Salaries are also higher for certain specializations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an RN is around $68,000 per year, or $33 per hour.