What is primary care nursing?
Primary care is the first level of medical assistance received by patients when they attend a hospital or healthcare facility.
A primary care nurse deals with a multitude of different areas of medicine and healthcare. The role focuses on caring for people and their general injuries and illnesses, rather than specific diseases.
At this level, treatment is centred on patients who have minor injuries and illnesses. This includes administering preventative medicines and preliminary procedures.
General Practitioners (GPs), community pharmacists, opticians and dentists, as well as nurses, are also considered primary healthcare providers.
Common diseases and illnesses that are dealt with in this line of defence include everything from minor broken bones and allergic reactions to the common cold and flu. Those in primary care roles also help in the management of long-term illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. They also deal with the prevention of disease and illness through immunisation and screening programmes.
These primary care nurses are in charge of carrying out initial examinations on patients before they see a doctor. They also have the ability to administer certain medications and vaccinations.
Primary care nursing roles
This type of role is usually that of a practice nurse, and has structured hours and scheduled patients, unlike nurses in hospitals who have to deal with sudden emergencies.
Primary care nurses are usually based in GP offices or healthcare centres. Roles also include emergency nurse practitioner jobs, and advanced nurse practitioner and practice nurse jobs.
Practice and primary care nurses and practitioners take basic recordings and examinations, measuring things like height, weight and blood pressure.
Primary care nurses are also responsible for a lot of direct patient care, including treating patients after an initial diagnosis has been made.
Because of this, primary care nurses often see their patients on a more regular basis than hospital nurses. This will be the case particularly if they are undertaking regular check-ups and assisting on health screenings for patients with pre-existing conditions.
What qualifications do you need to be a nurse?
To become a primary care nurse, like any other nurse, you must first get a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which takes four years of full-time study to earn. After this, you will need a Master of Science in Nursing, which takes another two years of full-time study.
To advance to the next level, you would then need to gain a PhD or DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice).
In addition to the academic degrees, these roles also necessitate extensive interpersonal skills. Dealing with a variety of different patients can be demanding, but rewarding, if you are able to communicate effectively.
As a primary care nurse, you will often be the first point of medical contact for patients coming into healthcare facilities.
Extensive organisational skills and an in-depth understanding of more common illnesses and injuries are a must, but making a good impression and setting peoples’ minds at ease are essential parts of the role. This is especially important as individuals may be distressed by whatever injury or illness they or their family members present. It takes a considerate and compassionate person to deal with these stressful situations and to maintain great relationships with regular patients.