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Duties & Obligations of Nurses

by Shailynn Krow, studioD

A nurse provides patients with care, education and awareness. Nurses can also give patients and their families emotional support. While the duties of a nurse can vary depending on the type of medical facility for which she works, some obligations are universal for all nurses.

Patient Care

A nurse’s primary objective is to care for and maintain a patient’s health. She might record her patient’s history and symptoms, administer medications and help set up treatment plans. A nurse monitors her patients and typically records any changes in a patient's health and/or reports them directly to the caring physician. She must operate medical equipment such as a blood pressure cuff, intravenous monitoring equipment and heart monitors. In some facilities, a nurse can help run diagnostic tests and analyze results under the supervision of a physician.


A nurse educates her patients and their families about diagnoses, treatments and care plans. A nurse often explains post-treatment care requirements, such as medications, nutrition, exercise or required follow-up care visitations. At some facilities, a nurse can host public health classes, such as labor and delivery education for expecting mothers.


A patient’s health, safety and rights should be at the forefront of a nurse’s objectives. He must advocate for his patients and strive to protect their safety and health at all times. He must consult with caring physicians and other healthcare professionals on the status of his patients and help determine courses of treatment.

Continuing Education

The medical world is constantly changing. A responsible nurse is one who advances her knowledge by participating in continuing education. Whether this continuing education is offered through in-house seminars or she must attend post-secondary training, a nurse should stay up to date on the latest healthcare policies, develop and implement new skills for patient care and practices, and learn about the latest technology and treatment methodologies for injuries and illnesses.

Professional Conduct

A nurse has a special obligation to protect his patients’ rights. He must maintain a level of privacy and confidentiality regarding his patients' health conditions and other personal information. He must avoid any conflicts of interest while caring for a patient and put the care and interests of his patients ahead of his own. Respect for his patients regardless of race, sex, economical status or other discrimination factors is important for a nurse to remain objective.

About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.

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