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5 Things You Should Know About Nurses

It Takes a Special, Caring Individual to Be a Nurse

Nurses blend knowledge, critical thinking and compassion to make a difference for patients and their families. From critically assessing the patient and coordinating a complex plan of care to administering medication and holding the hand of a family member, no two days on the job are ever the same for a nurse.

Here are five things you should know about nurses:

Nurses are licensed healthcare professionals.

Nurses are required to take a national standardized licensure exam. The path to taking this exam can be through an associate’s degree offered by community colleges and hospital-based schools of nursing, or a four-year bachelor’s degree that prepares graduates for a full scope of professional nursing practice. Coursework includes adult acute and chronic disease, community health nursing, pediatrics, mental health, chemistry, nutrition and anatomy, as well as nursing theory, health policy, economics, to name just a few. Many nurses also pursue advanced education at the graduate and doctorate level. Another important part of a nurse’s education is clinical experiences in the hospital, community and in ambulatory care settings and student nurse internship programs.

Nurses are life-long learners.

In addition to their nursing education, nurses receive specialized training on everything from healthcare policies and hospital procedures to using technical healthcare equipment and managing electronic medical records. Nurses may obtain specialty certification in their area of practice. To keep up with the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, nurses attend nursing conferences, continuing education classes and other professional development programs.

Many of our nurses are Magnet ® designated.

The prestigious American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet nursing designation recognizes quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovation in nursing practice. Four Northwestern Medicine hospitals are Magnet designated. Only seven percent of hospitals nationally have achieved this and only three percent of hospitals have achieved re-designation.

Nursing is strategic.

Our nursing strategic plan reflects the vision for advancing nursing practice and advancing nursing excellence in alignment with goals and objectives. Nurses play a key role in innovation, research and patient advocacy by leading initiatives that come from their experiences on the frontline.

Nurses are leaders.

Nurses are leaders and change agents who positively impact the quality of care that is provided locally, nationally and internationally.

Learn more about what it means to be a Northwestern Medicine nurse: