About RNs

RN Role:

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. 

Registered nurse care reduces the rate of hospital deaths.

Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., Cimiotti, J. P., Clarke, S. P., Flynn, L., Seago, J. A., Spetz, J. and Smith, H. L. (2010). Implications of the California Nurse Staffing Mandate for Other States. Health Services Research, 45: 904–921.

Aiken L. Economics of nursing. Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice. 2008;9(2):73–79.

Needleman, J., Buerhaus, P., Pankratz, V.S., Leibson, C. L., Stevens, S. R., Harris, M, (2011) Nurse Staffing and Inpatient Hospital Mortality. New England Journal of Medicine,; 364 (11), 1037-1045.

Needleman, J., Buerhaus, P., Mattke, S, Stewart, M., & Zelevinsky, K. (2002) Nurse-staffing levels and the quality of care in hospitals. New England Journal of Medicine, 346, 1715-1722.

Rafferty, A.M, Clarke, S.E, Coles, J., Ball, J., James, P., McKee, M., & Aiken, L. (2007). Outcomes of variation in hospital nurse staffing in English hospitals. Cross-sectional analysis of survey data and discharge records. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 44(2), 175-182.

Sales, A. et al. (2008). The association between nursing factors and patient mortality in the Veterans Health Administration: The view from the nursing unit level. Medical Care, 46(9), 938-945.

Van den Heede, K., Lesaffre, E., Diya, L., Vleugels, A., Clarke, S.P., Aiken, L.H., & Sermeus, W. (2009). The relationship between inpatient cardiac surgery mortality and nurse numbers and educational level: Analysis of administrative data. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46, 796-803.

Registered nurse care improves patient outcomes/safety.  (Reduces rates of infections, complication, adverse events).

Blegen, M.A., Goode, C.J., & Reed, L. (1998). Nurse staffing and patient outcomes. Nursing Research, 47(1), 43-50.

Curtin, L. (2003). An Integrated Analysis of Nurse Staffing and Related Variables: Effects on Patient Outcomes. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 8(3).

Hugonnet S, Harbarth S, Sax H, Duncan RA, Pittet D. (2004). Nursing resources: a major determinant of nosocomial infection? Curr Opin Infect Dis.17:329-333.

Jawad, Scalzi, Sasichay-Akkadechanunt. (2003). The Relationship between Nurse Staffing and Patient Outcomes.  The Journal of Nursing Administration, 33(9), 478-485.

Kane R, Shamliyan T, Mueller C, Duval S, Wilt T. (2007). The association of registered nurse staffing levels and patient outcomes: Systematic review and meta analysis. Medical Care. 45:1195–1204.

Mark, Harless, & Berman. (2007). Nurse staffing and adverse events in hospitalized children. Policy, Politics and Nursing Practice, 8(2):83-92.

Registered nurses deliver cost-effective care/economic value.

Dall, T. M., Chen, Y. J., Seifert, R. F., Maddox, P J., & Hogan, P.F. (2009). The economic value of professional nursing. Medical Care, 47(1), 97-104.

Needleman, J., P. I. Buerhaus, M. Stewart et al. (2006). Nurse Staffing in Hospitals: Is There a Business Case for Quality? Health Affairs (Millwood) 25 (1): 204–11.

Rothberg MB, et al. (2005) Improving nurse-to-patient staffing ratios as a cost-effective safety intervention. Med Care, 43(8):785-91

Direct registered nurse care provides benefits to long-term care residents.

Bostick, J.E. (2004). Relationship of nursing personnel and nursing home care quality. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 19(2), 130-136.

Horn, S.D., Buerhaus, P., Bergstrom, N. & Smout, R.J. (2005). RN staffing time and outcomes of long-stay nursing home residents. American Journal of Nursing, 105(11), 58-71.

Horn, S.D., Buerhaus, P., Bergstrom, N. & Smout, R.J. (2005). RN staffing time and outcomes of long-stay nursing home residents. American Journal of Nursing, 105(11), 58-71.

Weech-Maldonado, R., Meret-Hanke, L., Neff, M.C. & Mor, V. (2004). Nurse staffing patterns and quality of care in nursing homes. Health Care Management Review, 29(2), 107-116.


Testimonial - Debbie Bathgate, RN(NP)