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What Does a Floor Nurse Do?

What Does a Floor Nurse Do?
By MegaInterview Company Career Coach

A floor nurse plays a critical role in the healthcare system, working on the front lines to provide patient care and support. Also known as staff nurses, these healthcare professionals are responsible for assessing patients’ needs, administering medications, monitoring vital signs, and coordinating with other healthcare team members.

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Whether working in a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facilities, a floor nurse is dedicated to ensuring patients receive the best care. They are the backbone of the healthcare system and play a vital role in managing patient care and recovery.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the responsibilities of a floor nurse and the skills and qualifications required for this challenging and rewarding career.

Floor Nurse Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of a floor nurse can vary depending on the setting in which they work but generally include the following:

  • Assessing patient needs: A floor nurse is responsible for assessing patients’ conditions, including their physical and emotional needs, and developing and implementing care plans that address them.
  • Administering medications: Floor nurses are responsible for administering medications prescribed by a physician, monitoring patients for any adverse reactions, and keeping accurate records of all medications given.
  • Monitoring vital signs: Floor nurses are responsible for monitoring patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate. They also document these vital signs and report any abnormalities to the physician.
  • Coordinating with other healthcare professionals: Floor nurses are responsible for communicating with other members of the healthcare team, including physicians, physical therapists, and social workers, for ensuring that patients receive the best possible care.
  • Assisting with procedures: Floor nurses may assist physicians or other healthcare professionals with wound dressings, catheterization, and IV management.
  • Educating patients and families: Floor nurses are responsible for educating patients and their families about their conditions, treatments, and home care instructions.
  • Maintaining patient records: Floor nurses are responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient records, including medical history, medication schedules, and progress notes.
  • Maintaining equipment and supplies: Floor nurses are responsible for maintaining equipment and supplies, ensuring they are clean, functioning properly, and well-stocked.

In summary, Floor Nurses are responsible for providing direct patient care, administering medication, monitoring vital signs, coordinating with other healthcare team members, and maintaining patient records. They work in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.

Floor Nurse Job Requirements

To become a floor nurse, the following education, training, and experience are typically required:

  • Education: A floor nurse must have a nursing degree from an accredited nursing program. This can include a diploma from a nursing school, an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
  • Training: After completing a nursing program, floor nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed as a registered nurse (RN).
  • Experience: Many employers prefer to hire floor nurses with experience in a hospital or other healthcare setting. Some floor nurses start their careers as nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and then go on to become RNs.
  • Certifications and Licenses: In addition to the nursing degree and licensure as an RN, some employers may require floor nurses to have additional certifications or licenses. For example, certifications in Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) may be required.
  • Continuing education: RNs must renew their licensure periodically, and many states require continuing education units to maintain the license.
  • Other qualifications: Floor nurses should be compassionate, have good communication skills, have strong attention to detail, and be able to work under pressure. They should also be able to work well as part of a team and be comfortable using technology.

In summary, to become a floor nurse, one must have a nursing degree, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, have experience in a healthcare setting, and hold the necessary certifications and licenses. Continuing education is also required to maintain licensure, and soft skills such as communication, attention to detail, and teamwork are also important.

Floor Nurse Skills

Floor nurses require a wide range of skills to be able to perform their job effectively. Some of the most important skills include:

  • Clinical skills: Floor nurses must have a strong understanding of human anatomy and physiology, as well as the ability to perform physical assessments, administer medications, and monitor vital signs.
  • Communication skills: Floor nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other members of the healthcare team, both verbally and in writing.
  • Organizational skills: Floor nurses must be able to manage multiple patients and tasks at the same time, prioritize effectively, and keep accurate and up-to-date records.
  • Critical thinking skills: Floor nurses must be able to evaluate information, make sound judgments, and take appropriate actions in order to provide safe and effective care.
  • Emotional intelligence: Floor nurses must be able to work well under pressure and handle difficult situations, such as patients in pain or in critical condition, with compassion and empathy.
  • Technical skills: Floor nurses must be proficient in the use of various medical equipment and technology, such as electronic medical records, IV pumps and other equipment.
  • Adaptability: Floor nurses must be able to adapt to different settings and situations, such as working with different patients, and be able to adjust their approach when needed.
  • Time management: Floor nurses must be able to organize and manage their time effectively, as they often have many patients to care for and many tasks to complete.

In summary, floor nurses must possess a wide range of skills, including clinical skills, communication, organization, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, technical proficiency, adaptability, and time management.

Floor Nurse Salary

The salary for a floor nurse can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the type of employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for registered nurses in the United States is $75,510, with some variation among states.

Here are some examples of average salary ranges for floor nurses in different states:

  • California: $102,700
  • New York: $92,240
  • Texas: $79,040
  • Florida: $73,810
  • Illinois: $75,140

The salary for floor nurses can also vary depending on the type of employer. According to Payscale, nurses working in hospitals tend to earn more than those working in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Additionally, nurses who hold a BSN degree tend to earn more than those with an ADN or diploma in nursing.

It’s worth noting that experience, education, and certifications can also play a big role in determining salary. Nurses with more experience tend to earn higher salaries than those with advanced degrees or certifications in specialized areas.

In summary, the salary for a floor nurse can vary depending on location, experience, and the type of employer but generally ranges between $73,810 – $102,700 in the US.

Floor Nurse Work Environment

Floor nurses typically work in a variety of healthcare settings, including:

  • Hospitals: Floor nurses in hospitals may work in various units, such as medical-surgical, pediatrics, critical care, or emergency departments. They may work with patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and may care for patients with various conditions.
  • Nursing homes: Floor nurses in nursing homes typically work with elderly patients who have chronic conditions or disabilities. They may provide care for patients who need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.
  • Clinics: Floor nurses in clinics may work with patients who have chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension. They may also provide routine check-ups and vaccinations.
  • Ambulatory care centers: Floor nurses in ambulatory care centers may care for patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.
  • Community health centers: Floor nurses in community health centers may provide care to patients in underserved communities, such as those living in poverty or in rural areas.
  • Home health: Floor nurses may work in home health and provide care to patients in their homes.

Regardless of the setting, floor nurses usually work in fast-paced environments and may be required to work long hours, including evenings, weekends and holidays. They may also be required to work in rotating shifts. They may have to work under pressure and in stressful situations, such as dealing with critically ill patients.

In summary, floor nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, ambulatory care centers, community health centers, and home health. They work in fast-paced environments and may be required to work long hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work in rotating shifts and may have to work under pressure and in stressful situations.

Floor Nurse Trends

The field of nursing is constantly evolving and changing, and floor nurses must stay up-to-date with the latest trends in order to provide the best possible care to patients. Here are a few trends that are currently impacting the role of floor nurses:

  • Technology: The use of technology is becoming increasingly important in healthcare, and floor nurses must be proficient in using electronic medical records, telehealth, and other technologies to provide care and communicate with other members of the healthcare team.
  • Interprofessional collaboration: Floor nurses are increasingly working as part of interprofessional teams, collaborating with physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other healthcare professionals to provide coordinated care to patients.
  • Patient-centered care: Floor nurses are increasingly focused on providing care tailored to each patient’s individual needs, rather than following a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Community health: Floor nurses are increasingly working in community health settings, providing care to patients in their homes and in other non-hospital settings.
  • Specialization: Floor nurses increasingly specialize in specific areas of care, such as pediatrics, gerontology, or oncology, to provide more specialized care to patients.
  • Telehealth: Floor nurses are increasingly participating in virtual consultations, remote monitoring, and other forms of remote care.
  • Mental health: Floor nurses are increasingly recognizing the importance of mental health and are becoming more involved in providing mental health care to patients, including counseling and therapy.

How to Become a Floor Nurse

Becoming a floor nurse typically involves the following steps:

  • Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: The first step to becoming a floor nurse is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Enroll in an accredited nursing program: After completing high school, the next step is to enroll in an accredited nursing program. This can include a diploma from a nursing school, an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN).
  • Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN): After completing a nursing program, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. The exam tests your knowledge of nursing principles and practices and assesses your ability to provide safe and effective care.
  • Obtain a state license: After passing the NCLEX-RN, you will be eligible for licensure in your state. Each state has its own licensure requirements, and you will need to meet these requirements to practice as a registered nurse.
  • Get experience: Many employers prefer to hire floor nurses with experience in a hospital or other healthcare setting. Some floor nurses start their careers as nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and then become RNs.
  • Consider certifications and continuing education: Some employers may require floor nurses to have additional certifications or licenses, such as Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Additionally, continuing education is often required to maintain licensure, and taking additional courses can help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends in nursing and advance your career.

In summary, to become a floor nurse, one must have a high school diploma, enroll in an accredited nursing program, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, obtain a state license, gain experience, and consider certifications and continuing education.

Floor Nurse Advancement Prospects

Floor nurses have a variety of options for advancing their careers, including:

  • Specialization: Floor nurses can choose to specialize in a particular area of nursing, such as pediatrics, gerontology, or oncology. Specializing in a specific area can open up more opportunities for advancement and higher pay.
  • Higher education: Floor nurses can go on to earn a master’s degree or higher in nursing, which can qualify them for advanced practice roles such as nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist.
  • Management: Floor nurses can also move into management roles, such as charge nurse, head nurse, or nursing supervisor. These roles typically involve overseeing the work of other nurses and coordinating patient care.
  • Educator: Floor nurses can become nurse educators and teach future nurses.
  • Research: Floor nurses can also become involved in nursing research and contribute to advancing the nursing profession.
  • Consulting: Experienced floor nurses can also become nursing consultants and provide expertise to healthcare organizations.

In summary, floor nurses have many options for advancement in their careers, including specialization, higher education, management, education, research, and consulting. These options can lead to more responsibilities, higher pay, and greater job satisfaction. Advancing in their careers can also help floor nurses to become experts in their field and contribute to the development of the nursing profession.

Floor Nurse Job Description Example

Below you will find an example job description for a Floor Nurse position.

Job Title: Floor Nurse

Reports to: Director of Nursing

Job Description:

The Floor Nurse is responsible for providing direct patient care, administering medication, monitoring vital signs, coordinating with other healthcare team members, and maintaining patient records. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assessing patient needs: A floor nurse is responsible for assessing patients’ conditions, including their physical and emotional needs, and for developing and implementing care plans that address those needs.
  • Administering medications: Floor nurses are responsible for administering medications as prescribed by a physician, monitoring patients for any adverse reactions, and keeping accurate records of all medications given.
  • Monitoring vital signs: Floor nurses are responsible for monitoring patients’ vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and respiratory rate. They also document these vital signs and report any abnormalities to the physician.
  • Coordinating with other healthcare professionals: Floor nurses are responsible for communicating with other members of the healthcare team, including physicians, physical therapists, and social workers, for ensuring that patients receive the best possible care.
  • Assisting with procedures: Floor nurses may assist physicians or other healthcare professionals with procedures such as wound dressings, catheterization, and IV management.
  • Educating patients and families: Floor nurses are responsible for educating patients and their families about their conditions, treatments, and home care instructions.
  • Maintaining patient records: Floor nurses are responsible for maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient records, including medical history, medication schedules, and progress notes.
  • Maintaining equipment and supplies: Floor nurses are responsible for maintaining equipment and supplies, ensuring that they are clean, functioning properly, and well-stocked.

Qualifications:

  • Current nursing license as a Registered Nurse (RN) in the state of practice
  • A minimum of an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN)
  • A minimum of 1-year experience as a floor nurse or in a related field
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
  • Strong clinical and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational skills

Work schedule: Full-time, rotating shifts, including evenings, weekends, and holidays as required.

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