A bedside nurse is a critical aspect of healthcare that involves providing direct patient care in various clinical settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and residential care facilities.
Many nursing students often ask, what is bedside nursing? Bedside nurses are responsible for administering medications, taking vital signs, changing linens, and coordinating patient care. They also act as patient educators and advocates, ensuring that patients receive the best possible care and that their needs are met.
To become a bedside nurse, students typically pursue a nursing diploma or degree and then gain practical experience through internships and residencies.
Bedside nursing requires a high level of skill and dedication, as nurses must be able to respond quickly to changing patient needs and work effectively with other healthcare professionals. Despite the challenges, many nurses find bedside nursing to be a rewarding and fulfilling career path that allows them to make a meaningful difference in patients’ lives.
What is a Bedside Nurse?
A bedside nurse is a healthcare professional who provides direct patient care in hospitals, clinics, ambulatory centers, nursing and residential care homes, and other medical facilities.
Bedside nurses are responsible for monitoring and documenting patients’ vital signs, administering medication, assisting with activities of daily living, and communicating with the healthcare team to ensure that patients receive the best care possible.
Direct patient care is at the heart of bedside nursing. It involves working closely with patients to provide physical, emotional, and psychological support. Bedside nurses must be compassionate and empathetic, as they often work with patients who are in pain or distress. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families, as well as with other members of the healthcare team.
One of the primary responsibilities of a bedside nurse is to monitor and document patients’ vital signs. This includes measuring blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and temperature. Bedside nurses must also be able to recognize and respond to changes in patients’ conditions, such as a sudden drop in blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.
Administering medication is another important role of a bedside nurse. This involves preparing and administering medication as prescribed by the healthcare provider, as well as monitoring patients for any adverse reactions or side effects.
In addition to providing direct patient care, bedside nurses also play a critical role in patient care coordination. They work closely with other members of the healthcare team, such as physicians, nurse practitioners, and physical therapists, to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.
Bedside nurses must be able to communicate effectively with the healthcare team, as well as with patients and their families, to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the patient’s care plan.
Overall, bedside nursing is a challenging yet rewarding profession that requires a high level of compassion, communication skills, and attention to detail. Bedside nurses are essential members of the healthcare team, providing direct patient care and ensuring that patients receive the best possible care.
Responsibilities of a Bedside Nurse
Bedside nurses are responsible for providing direct care to patients in various medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. They work alongside physicians, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals to provide effective healthcare.
The responsibilities of a bedside nurse are diverse and multifaceted. They include:
Bedside nurses are responsible for conducting patient assessments to identify the patient’s health status and needs. They perform physical assessments, review medical histories, and gather information about the patient’s condition. This information is used to develop a nursing care plan that addresses the patient’s specific needs.
Bedside nurses are responsible for providing nursing care to patients. They administer medications, change dressings, and monitor vital signs. They also provide emotional support and education to patients and their families.
Bedside nurses work with physicians and other healthcare professionals to develop treatment plans for patients. They help implement the treatment plan and monitor the patient’s progress. They also communicate with the healthcare team to ensure that the patient’s needs are being met.
Bedside nurses are responsible for performing various medical procedures, such as inserting IVs, administering medications, and assisting with diagnostic testing. They must be knowledgeable about medical procedures and have the necessary skills to perform them safely.
Bedside nurses are responsible for coordinating and performing diagnostic testing as ordered by the physician. They must be knowledgeable about the testing process and ensure that the patient is prepared for the test.
Bedside nurses provide direct care to patients, which includes monitoring their condition, providing emotional support, and ensuring their comfort. They must be able to communicate effectively with patients and their families to provide the best possible care.
Bedside nurses interact with patients on a daily basis and are responsible for building a rapport with them. They must be able to communicate effectively and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
Bedside nurses are responsible for monitoring and evaluating patient outcomes. They must be able to identify any changes in the patient’s condition and adjust the nursing care plan accordingly. They also communicate with the healthcare team to ensure that the patient’s needs are being met and that the patient is receiving the best possible care.
Skills Required for Bedside Nursing
Bedside nursing is a demanding and challenging profession that requires a unique set of skills. A bedside nurse must possess a combination of technical and soft skills to provide quality care to patients. In this section, we will discuss the essential skills required for bedside nursing.
Effective communication is one of the most important skills required for bedside nursing. Bedside nurses must be able to convey complex medical information to patients and their families in a simple and understandable manner.
They must also be good listeners to understand patients’ needs and concerns. Communication skills are critical for relaying information to other healthcare professionals, such as physicians, therapists, and social workers.
Bedside nurses are often the first point of contact for patients and their families. They must take charge of the patient’s care and coordinate with other healthcare professionals to provide quality care.
Leadership skills are essential for bedside nurses to manage and delegate tasks to other healthcare professionals, such as nursing assistants and technicians.
Critical thinking is a vital skill for bedside nurses. They must be able to analyze and interpret patient data to make informed decisions about patient care.
Bedside nurses must be able to anticipate potential complications and take proactive measures to prevent them. They must also be able to prioritize patient needs and make quick decisions under pressure.
Empathy is an essential skill for bedside nurses. They must be able to understand and relate to patients’ emotions and provide emotional support.
Bedside nurses must be able to acknowledge and respect patients’ feelings of fear, confusion, and vulnerability.
Trust is a critical component of the nurse-patient relationship. Bedside nurses must establish trust with patients and their families to provide quality care. They must be honest and transparent in their communication and actions.
Calm under Pressure
Bedside nurses must be able to remain calm and composed in high-stress situations. They must be able to handle emergencies and make quick decisions under pressure.
Calmness under pressure is essential for bedside nurses to provide quality care and prevent medical errors.
Bedside nursing can be emotionally draining. Bedside nurses must be able to cope with the emotional demands of the job and maintain their emotional well-being. Emotional endurance is essential for bedside nurses to provide quality care and prevent burnout.
Bedside nurses must possess a wide range of technical skills. They must be proficient in administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and performing medical procedures. They must also be able to use medical equipment and technology effectively.
Soft skills are essential for bedside nurses to provide quality care. Bedside nurses must possess excellent interpersonal skills, such as empathy, communication, and teamwork. They must also be able to adapt to changing situations and work effectively in a fast-paced environment.
In conclusion, bedside nursing requires a unique set of skills that combine technical and soft skills. Effective communication, leadership, critical thinking, empathy, trust, calm under pressure, emotional endurance, technical skills, and soft skills are essential for bedside nurses to provide quality care to patients.
Education & Certification for Bedside Nurses
To become a bedside nurse, one must have a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in nursing. These programs prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN exam, which is required to become a registered nurse (RN).
The length of time it takes to complete these programs varies, depending on the type of program and the institution.
In addition to formal education, bedside nurses must obtain certification in their specialty area. Certification is voluntary but is strongly recommended as it demonstrates a nurse’s commitment to their profession and their knowledge and skills in a specific area of nursing.
Some certifications for bedside nurses include Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN), Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN), and Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN).
Nurse educators play an important role in educating future bedside nurses. They are responsible for developing and implementing nursing curricula, as well as teaching and mentoring nursing students. These nurse educators typically hold a master’s or doctoral degree in nursing and have extensive clinical experience.
Nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) also play a role in bedside nursing. CRNA’s are responsible for administering anesthesia to patients, while nurse practitioners provide primary care services to patients. These advanced practice nurses have additional education and certification requirements beyond those of registered nurses.
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) also work in bedside nursing but have less education and training than registered nurses. LPNs typically complete a one-year nursing program and are responsible for providing basic patient care under the supervision of a registered nurse or physician.
In summary, becoming a bedside nurse requires formal education and certification in a specialty area. Nurse educators play a critical role in educating future nurses, while advanced practice registered nurses have additional education and certification requirements. Licensed practical nurses also work in bedside nursing but have less education and training than registered nurses.
Bedside Nursing in Different Healthcare Settings
Bedside nursing is a multifaceted role that requires the nurse to provide direct patient care in various healthcare settings. These settings can include hospitals, clinics, oncology, critical care, pediatrics, surgery, nursing homes, community health nursing, home health, and ambulatory centers. Here is a brief overview of bedside nursing in different healthcare settings:
Hospitals: Bedside nurses play a crucial role in hospitals by providing round-the-clock care to patients. They monitor patients’ vital signs, administer medications, and assist with activities of daily living. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to create and implement care plans and provide emotional support to patients and their families.
Clinics: Bedside nurses in clinics work closely with physicians and other healthcare professionals to provide care to patients with chronic illnesses or acute conditions. They perform assessments, administer medications, and provide patient education. They may also assist with procedures and coordinate referrals to other healthcare providers.
Oncology: Bedside nurses in oncology provide care to patients with cancer. They monitor patients for side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, administer medications, and provide emotional support to patients and their families. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to develop and implement care plans.
Critical Care: Bedside nurses in critical care work in intensive care units (ICUs) and provide care to patients with life-threatening conditions. They monitor patients’ vital signs, administer medications, and provide life-saving interventions. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to critically ill patients.
Pediatrics: Bedside nurses in pediatrics provide care to infants, children, and adolescents. They monitor patients’ growth and development, administer medications, and provide emotional support to patients and their families. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide specialized care to pediatric patients.
Surgery: Bedside nurses in surgery assist with surgical procedures and provide care to patients before and after surgery. They monitor patients’ vital signs, administer medications, and assist with wound care. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to surgical patients.
Nursing Homes: Bedside nurses in nursing homes provide care to elderly patients who require long-term care. They monitor patients’ health status, administer medications, and assist with activities of daily living. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to nursing home residents.
Community Health Nursing: Bedside nurses in community health nursing provide care to patients in their homes or in community settings. They monitor patients’ health status, administer medications, and provide patient education. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients in the community.
Home Health: Bedside nurses in home health provide care to patients in their homes. They monitor patients’ health status, administer medications, and assist with activities of daily living. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients in their homes.
Ambulatory Centers: Bedside nurses in ambulatory centers provide care to patients who require same-day procedures or treatments. They monitor patients’ health status, administer medications, and provide patient education. They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients in ambulatory settings.
Overall, bedside nursing is a vital role in healthcare that requires a high level of skill, knowledge, and compassion. Bedside nurses work in various healthcare settings and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients.
Challenges Faced by the Bedside Nurse
Being a bedside nurse is a rewarding profession, but it is not without its challenges. Bedside nurses face a wide range of obstacles in their daily work, including physical, emotional, and mental challenges. In this section, we will explore some of the most common challenges faced by bedside nurses.
Bedside nurses often work long hours on their feet, which can be physically demanding. They may also have to lift and move patients, which can put a strain on their backs and other muscles. To help alleviate some of these physical challenges, many hospitals have started using mechanical lifts to assist with patient transfers.
Caring for patients with serious illnesses or injuries can be emotionally taxing, especially when faced with suffering or loss. Bedside nurses may experience feelings of sadness, grief, and helplessness, which can take a toll on their mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has added an extra layer of emotional stress for nurses, who have been on the front lines of the fight against the virus.
In addition to emotional challenges, bedside nurses may also experience mental challenges such as burnout and compassion fatigue. Burnout can occur when nurses become overwhelmed by the demands of their job, leading to feelings of exhaustion and detachment. Compassion fatigue can occur when nurses become emotionally exhausted from caring for patients who are suffering.
The nursing shortage is a significant challenge facing the healthcare industry, and bedside nurses are no exception. With an aging population and an increasing demand for healthcare services, there is a growing need for qualified nurses. However, there are not enough nurses to meet this demand, leading to a workforce shortage.
Bedside nurses may also experience chronic pain due to the physical demands of their job. This can include back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal issues. Hospitals can help alleviate some of these issues by providing ergonomic equipment and training to help prevent injuries.
The mental health of bedside nurses is also a concern. Many nurses work long hours, which can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. It is important for hospitals to provide resources and support to help nurses manage their mental health.
In conclusion, bedside nurses face a range of challenges in their daily work. These challenges can be physical, emotional, and mental in nature. By addressing these challenges and providing support to nurses, hospitals can help ensure that bedside nurses can continue to provide high-quality care to their patients.
Future of Bedside Nursing
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the role of bedside nursing is also changing.
The demand for healthcare services is increasing due to the aging population, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
This means that the need for bedside nurses will also increase, making it a stable and reliable career option.
Health administration and informatics are also becoming increasingly important in the healthcare industry.
Bedside nurses will need to be proficient in using electronic health records and other healthcare technologies.
They will also need to have strong communication skills to effectively communicate with other healthcare professionals and patients.
Addiction and genetics are two areas that are expected to have a significant impact on bedside nursing in the future.
As the opioid epidemic continues to affect communities across the country, bedside nurses will need to be knowledgeable about addiction and how to provide effective care to patients struggling with substance abuse.
Genetics is another area that is expected to become more important in healthcare, and bedside nurses will need to be able to provide genetic counseling and support to patients and their families.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) and Ohio University are two organizations that are working to promote evidence-based nursing practices.
Bedside nurses will need to stay up-to-date with the latest research and best practices to provide the highest quality care to their patients.
In conclusion, the future of bedside nursing looks promising, with increasing demand for healthcare services and a growing need for healthcare professionals who can provide compassionate and effective care to patients.
As healthcare administration and technology continue to evolve, bedside nurses will need to be adaptable and flexible, with strong communication and critical thinking skills.
Ackley, B. J., Ladwig, G. B., Makic, M. B., Martinez-Kratz, M. R., & Zanotti, M. (2020). Nursing diagnoses handbook: An evidence-based guide to planning care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Anna J. Yeo, Elissa Jelalian, Sheryl J. Kopel & Daphne Koinis-Mitchell (2023) Asthma-related lung function and physical activity patterns among children living in urban neighborhoods, Journal of Asthma, 60:7, 1386-1393, DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2022.2149410
Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2022). Nursing care plans: Diagnoses, interventions, & outcomes. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Ignatavicius, D. D., Workman, M. L., Rebar, C. R., & Heimgartner, N. M. (2020). Medical-surgical nursing: Concepts for interprofessional collaborative care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Quirt, J., Hildebrand, K. J., Mazza, J., Noya, F., & Kim, H. (2018). Asthma. Allergy, asthma, and clinical immunology : official journal of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 14(Suppl 2), 50. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13223-018-0279-0
Silvestri, L. A. (2020). Saunders comprehensive review for the NCLEX-RN examination. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Walid Al-Qerem, Anan Jarab, Shrouq R. Abu Heshmeh & Jonathan Ling (2023) Variables associated with asthma control among adult patients, Journal of Asthma, 60:7, 1290-1298, DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2022.2144351
Best Nursing Books and Resources
These are the nursing books and resources that we recommend.
The Nursing Diagnosis Handbook E-Book: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
This is a great reference for nurses and nursing students. While it is a great resource for writing nursing care plans and nursing diagnosis, it also helps guide the nurse to matching the nursing diagnosis to the patient assessment and diagnosis.
This handbook has been updated with NANDA-I approved Nursing Diagnoses that incorporates NOC and NIC taxonomies and evidenced based nursing interventions and much more.
NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023
All introductory chapters in this updated version of a ground-breaking text have been completely rewritten to give nurses the knowledge they require to appreciate assessment, its relationship to diagnosis and clinical reasoning, and the goal and use of taxonomic organization at the bedside.
Nursing Care Plans: Nursing Diagnosis and Intervention
Contains more than 200 care plans that adhere to the newest evidence-based recommendations.
Additionally, it distinguishes between nursing and collaborative approaches and highlights QSEN competencies.
Please follow your facilities guidelines, policies, and procedures.
The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.
This information is intended to be nursing education and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.