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Office Nurse Description

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Office nurse is the catch-all term for a nurse who cares for outpatients in doctor’s offices, general and specialty clinics and emergency medical centers. Office nurses are usually registered nurses, most have a bachelor of science in nursing or similar education, and all are licensed to practice nursing in the state where they live. The duties of office nurses tend to be related to general patient care, versus the more specialized duties of many nurses in larger hospitals and surgery centers.

Education and Licensing

While about half of registered nurses entering the field in the 2012 hold a bachelor of science in nursing, some came into nursing with degrees in other fields and some just have an associate degree in nursing. Most office nurses do not undertake the additional specialized training required to work in a neonatal ward or a major hospital emergency room. All RNs, including office nurses, must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses to become licensed in their state.

Patient Care

Office nurses perform a variety of patient care responsibilities. They typically prepare patients for examinations, including basic diagnostic interviewing. Office nurses also typically administer medications and vaccines, dress wounds or incisions and even assist with minor surgery. In addition, office nurses offer advice on prescription medications and home health care to both patients and family after an exam or minor procedure.

Routine Lab Work and Record Keeping

In some practices and clinics, nurses are also expected to take blood and tissue samples and assist with or even perform routine, automated lab tests. Office nurses frequently deliver the results of in-office tests to patients, and sometimes discuss the results with patients. Office nurses typically also have some administrative and record-keeping duties relating to patient vital statistics and screening results.

Employment Prospects

Given the aging of the baby boomer generation, the health care profession as a whole is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next couple of decades, and job prospects for RNs are excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 26 percent employment growth for registered nurses from 2010 to 2020, and mentions doctor's offices and outpatient care centers as areas where RN job growth is expected to be much faster than the average 14 percent growth rate for all occupations.

Nurse Practitioners Employment and Labor Information 2023

Nurse Practitioners Employment Brief:

Diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a healthcare team. May focus on health promotion and disease prevention. May order, perform, or interpret diagnostic tests such as lab work and x rays. May prescribe medication. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

Nurse Practitioners Job Description

Here is a Job Description an employer might post for potential Nurse Practitioners.

Nurse Practitioners Responsibilities and Duties:

  • Order, perform, or interpret the results of diagnostic tests, such as complete blood counts (CBCs), electrocardiograms (EKGs), and radiographs (x-rays).
  • Prescribe medications based on efficacy, safety, and cost as legally authorized.
  • Analyze and interpret patients' histories, symptoms, physical findings, or diagnostic information to develop appropriate diagnoses.
  • Maintain departmental policies and procedures in areas such as safety and infection control.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing.
  • Provide patients with information needed to promote health, reduce risk factors, or prevent disease or disability.
  • Educate patients about self-management of acute or chronic illnesses, tailoring instructions to patients' individual circumstances.
  • Diagnose or treat chronic health care problems, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Recommend diagnostic or therapeutic interventions with attention to safety, cost, invasiveness, simplicity, acceptability, adherence, and efficacy.
  • Supervise or coordinate patient care or support staff activities.

Typical Daily Tasks of Nurse Practitioners:

  • Documenting/Recording Information: Record patient medical histories.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Diagnose medical conditions.
  • Getting Information.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others: Apply bandages, dressings, or splints. Immunize patients. Refer patients to other healthcare practitioners or health resources. Treat acute illnesses, infections, or injuries. Treat chronic diseases or disorders. Treat medical emergencies.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge: Maintain medical or professional knowledge.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships.
  • Analyzing Data or Information: Analyze test data or images to inform diagnosis or treatment.
  • Processing Information.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others: Communicate detailed medical information to patients or family members.

Nurse Practitioners Skills and Requirements:

  • NavigationUsing scroll bars, a mouse, and dialog boxes to work within the computer's operating system. Being able to access and switch between applications and files of interest.
  • Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
  • Persuasion Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • DatabasesUsing a computer application to manage large amounts of information, including creating and editing simple databases, inputting data, retrieving specific records, and creating reports to communicate the information.
  • Operations Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • InternetNavigating the Internet to find information, including the ability to open and configure standard browsers; use searches, hypertext references, and transfer protocols; and send and retrieve electronic mail (e-mail).
  • Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Nurse Practitioners Salary and Wages:

Average Salary: 58,450. Education: typical education requirements include High school diploma or equivalent.

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Data from May 2023 courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program.


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