A registered nurse (RN) holds many roles, however, the primary focus of all RN work is to provide the public with quality health care through application of knowledge and skill. This is achieved through RNs assisting individuals, families and communities to obtain their optimal level of health, prevent illness and to alleviate suffering. This is done through the RNs work as a front line care provider (hospital, clinic, home care, public health), educator (within all settings), administrator and researcher. RNs are responsible for performing assessments and then creating and implementing a plan of care made specifically for that patient. This plan is evaluated on an ongoing basis to ensure the patient is receiving the best care possible. Some of the work an RN does is visible – but much of it is not, as it is the implementation of highly developed knowledge. RNs also ensure patients have a safe, healthy environment in hospitals and clinics, provide teaching to patients and their families and speak up for them when it is in their best interest.
A high percentage of RNs on a unit is a significant predictor of quality of care. Higher numbers of RNs on a hospital unit is associated with better health outcomes and increased patient satisfaction. Additionally, these units have less wound infections and medication errors. RNs are good for people’s health.