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Purpose and Mission
Nurses are licensed healthcare professionals who are trained to care for sick or injured people. They usually work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, medical centres, outpatient clinics, schools and companies. Nurses can practise independently or are supervised by doctors, surgeons or dentists. Although doctors diagnose and order treatments for illnesses, the nurse is the healthcare provider that usually treats the patient.
Nurses treat common injuries and illnesses, administer medications and assess and care for the patients’ needs, emotional responses and define the barriers to care. They often stay on their feet for extended periods of time and sometimes need to lift or move patients. Nurses can specialise in:
· Aged Care· Registered Nurse· Theatre & Perioperative· Manager· General Medical / Surgical· Oncology· Practice Nurse· Cardiac· Community· Critical Care / ICU· Emergency· Maternal & Child Health
Midwives are healthcare professionals who specialise in assisting women during childbirth, and with antenatal care, post-natal care and newborn health care.
Most nurses report to a head nurse or lead doctor, although the chain of command can vary based on the type of nurse and facility. Midwives tend to work independently and may not have a direct supervisor.
More educated and experienced nurses will likely have significant supervisory responsibilities in terms of overseeing LVNs, orderlies and other less-trained members of the healthcare team.
The educational path for nurses varies and includes diplomas, associate’s degrees, or bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Various optional certifications in areas of specialisation are also available.
Midwives can obtain a Bachelor of Midwifery degree in order to enter the profession. It’s not necessary to be a nurse before becoming a midwife. There are also a number of universities that offer a combined Bachelor of Nursing / Midwifery degree.
A registered nurse midwife usually has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a graduate degree in midwifery. Both certification and licensure are required to practise.
All nurses and midwives must register with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia to practice in Australia. These healthcare professionals renew their registration through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) or via AHPRA.
Responsibilities of and Nurses and Midwives
Nurses need to have empathy for their patients. This allows nurses to share emotions and provide quality care for patients in distress.
Nurses also need to perform patient assessments, manage medical equipment and administer medication. As such, it’s essential for nurses to be detail oriented and always provide documentation regarding the care of a patient.
It’s also critical for nurses to have strong communication skills as they often interact with and care for people of different ages and cultural backgrounds. Nurses also need to be able to think critically in order to respond to constant changes and needs of their patients.