What is a Staff Nurse?

A staff nurse is generally a registered nurse who provides medical care to patients, communities, and employees.

These healthcare professionals often deliver bedside care to those with physical or mental illnesses and injuries.

Staff nurses serve numerous positions within a medical facility, university, nursing home, or healthcare center.

They also operate in different healthcare areas, such as emergency rooms, geriatrics departments, or neonatal care units.

What Do Staff Nurses Do?

Staff nurses perform numerous duties to ensure patients, communities, and employees receive adequate medical care. 

It includes recording vital signs, checking blood pressure, and administering IVs (Intravenous therapy) and medicine.

They also monitor the patient’s recovery, prepare medical equipment, and assist patients with rehabilitation.

Staff nurses assist other specialists with administrative duties and medical tasks to focus on their specialization.

For instance, staff nurses may screen patients, perform bedside duties and update medical records.

Managing these duties enables physicians and nurse practitioners to spend more time on higher-level responsibilities. 

Sometimes the term staff nurse refers to a long-term position within a hospital or health care facility.

These nurses work as permanent staff rather than independent contractors, supplemental nurses, or travel nurses.

Independent nurse contractors and travel nurses temporarily work as part of healthcare facilities staff.

However, they don’t hold permanent positions as full-time employees.

Staff nurses also typically play a nonsupervisory role and report to higher-level staff like physicians or nurse practitioners.

Staff Nurse Responsibiliites:

  • Screen patients
  • Update medical records
  • Provide bedside care
  • Perform basic health assessments
  • Assess and monitor patient conditions
  • Administer medications
  • Assist with rehabilitation
  • Support medical staff

Registered Nurse vs. Staff Nurse

A staff nurse is a type of registered nurse who works for a hospital or healthcare facility.

Registered nurses operate in a wide variety of healthcare fields.

It includes direct care, non-bedside care, research, education, legal consulting, entrepreneurship, and other disciplines.

Unlike nurses who work in non-patient-focused disciplines, staff nurses work as part of a healthcare facility’s medical staff.

Like other registered nurses, staff nurses obtain an ADN or BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN and obtain licensure.

As a result, staff nurses are licensed professionals specializing in one of the numerous careers for registered nurses.

The primary distinction is that they operate as part of a hospital or healthcare facility staff.

Where Do Staff Nurses Work?

Staff nurses work in various healthcare settings, providing medical care, education, and support to ill or injured people.

Most staff nurses operate in hospitals and healthcare facilities.

However, they also work in local clinics, doctor’s offices, community healthcare centers, and various organizations.

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Local clinics
  • Nursing homes
  • Community health centers
  • Doctors offices
  • Urgent care facilities

Staff nurses work in pediatric and NICU units, emergency departments, and medical-surgical teams in hospital settings.

They also operate in other hospital departments requiring the support of qualified nursing staff.

How to Become a Staff Nurse

Becoming a staff nurse is a fantastic career for those interested in providing medical care, education, and emotional support to patients.

These healthcare specialists play a significant role in helping individuals lead happy, healthy lives.

Nevertheless, there are numerous steps staff nurses must complete to work in this specialization.

It includes joining a nursing program, obtaining a degree, passing the NCLEX-RN, and getting hired.

The following section explores the steps individuals must complete to become staff nurses.

1. Join a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming a staff nurse is to join an accredited nursing school.

Aspiring nursing students must complete the required course prerequisites to enter the program.

The nursing prerequisites may vary depending on the university but typically include anatomy and physiology, biology, English, chemistry, and other related subjects.

These courses ensure students have a fundamental understanding of the courses they’ll be required to complete in the nursing program.

Students must also maintain a good GPA to qualify for the program due to completion and course requirements.

After completing the nursing school prerequisites, students may apply for the nursing program.

2. Obtain an ADN or BSN

Students who successfully enter the nursing program can pursue one of two degrees, which include an ADN or BSN.

The ADN degree takes approximately 18 – 24 months to complete and provides a fundamental nursing education.

This degree quickly prepares nursing students for entry-level registered nursing positions.

As a result, it’s fantastic for those who want to enter nursing quickly, earn an income, and gain work experience.

Nevertheless, many healthcare institutions prefer registered nurses with a BSN degree due to their comprehensive education.

The BSN degree takes roughly 36 – 48 months to complete and enables registered nurses to pursue various specializations.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN

After completing the nursing program,  graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain their license.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops the NCLEX exam.

Completing the exam ensures nursing school graduates have an adequate understanding of the fundamentals of nursing.

It also demonstrates to employers that graduates satisfy the state’s education requirements and can obtain licensure.

4. Get Hired

The final step to becoming a staff nurse is to get hired.

Registered nurses with valid licenses may apply for careers at their local hospital or healthcare institution.

They can also apply for jobs online through hiring boards or obtain interviews by developing connections with other professionals.

New registered nurses should seek professional services to ensure their resumes demonstrate their qualifications.

It’s also beneficial to highlight voluntary work, CNA/LPN experience, or related employment to exhibit their credentials.

Staff Nurse Requirments

Due to the ever-increasing healthcare standards, new and existing healthcare facilities prefer nurses with a BSN degree.

They also prefer registered nurses with previous work experience in their respective fields.

However, some healthcare facilities will hire first-time registered nurses for entry-level positions.

These healthcare professionals make up most nurses operating in the United States.

Registered nurses are vital for maintaining and improving patient healthcare.

However, due to the ever-increasing nursing shortages, staff nurses constantly experience increased workloads and hours.

As a result, maintaining patient care throughout the country and their communities is becoming increasingly challenging.

The nursing shortage may lead to better pay and employee perks to incentive nurses to work for particular facilities.

However, it also leads to burnout and mental fatigue, reducing performance and lowering morale over long periods.

The American Nurse Association

Operating as a staff nurse can be highly rewarding but stressful due to the disposition of healthcare work.

To maintain a good work/life balance, staff nurses and employees must remain in good physical and mental health,

Organizations like the American Nurse Association (ANA) perform surveys, questionnaires, and follow-ups with nurses.

It ensures they receive fair treatment and can work effectively by maintaining good mental/physical health standards.

It also ensures nurses aren’t overwhelmed with work that adds undue stress and frustration to their hectic schedules.

Over time long-term stress leads to lowered work performance, motivation, and burnout.

The ANA creates legislative changes to ensure employees and patients receive adequate care in the healthcare field.

They ensure healthcare facilities hire sufficient staff to improve everyone’s performance, healthcare, and experience.