Health and Social Care-A2- Unit 2-Practitioner roles - comparing a teacher and a nurse.

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A2 Unit 6 Practitioner Roles

Main duties and activities of an Adult Nurse:

Adult nurses are responsible for working with both old and young adults with diverse health conditions which may be acute, chronic, physical or mental (1). Nurses are the only practitioners that care for patients for 24 hours whilst all the other practitioners such as doctors only see patients for a short amount of time before handing them over to a nurse (5). Adult nurses have many duties as their aim is to try and improve people’s quality of life even if the situations seem difficult (1). Adult nurses face different situations everyday hence why being a nurse can be challenging but also rewarding.  

 A nurse’s day is usually very busy and packed as they are not only looking after one patient but may look after a number of patients at the same time. A nurse’s day consists of; writing patient’s care plans, providing nursing care to patients in hospitals, at home, nursing homes or in other settings. Nurses implement plans and follow up tasks. Some of the day to day duties of adult nurses are preparing patients for operations, cleaning and dressing wounds, monitoring patients’ temperature, pulse and blood pressure (1). Nurses have to observe and record the conditions of their patients and respond quickly to emergencies through reporting any abnormalities to the GP; they check and administer drugs and injections, set up any drips or blood transfusions, assist the doctors during the ward rounds and procedures. Adult nurses also delegate tasks to students and junior staff. Adult nurses have to speak to their patients all the time during procedures, reassuring them in order to relieve anxiety and they also have to communicate with the patients relatives. It is the nurse’s responsibility to give health education to the patient and their relatives; they are also responsible for mentoring students and supervising junior staff (8). A nurse will daily maintain a patient’s records also; they are not allowed to divulge confidential information regarding a patient’s condition (1). A day as adult nurse will include helping patients to have a wash and also assist them in consuming food and drink. On a typical day; a nurse may have to answer the phone and may also have to book transport for their patients if they need to be transferred to other departments. (2).

Adult nursing and teamwork:

Nursing is one of the jobs that teamwork is essential and without it things would not run smoothly for the patients. Nurses work together as a team with their colleagues, senior staff, and junior staff and student nurses by sharing ideas, information and problems at work; this reduces workload at work through mutual support and gives a better outcome of patient care. Adult nurses are part of the multi-disciplinary team (3) so they will need to know how to work closely and interact with other practitioners (3). Other practitioners that work with adult nurses include:

  1. Doctors:  Nurses assist doctors in diagnosing patient’s medical conditions and treating them (4) as doctors are usually the leaders of the multi-disciplinary team. For example it is the doctors that name patients conditions and illnesses, then the doctors will then refer the patient to a nurse to be looked after and that nurse must always give feedback to the doctor on the progress of the patient.
  2. Pharmacists: Nurses give patients prescriptions and then the pharmacists are the ones that look at the prescription and give the written treatment to the patient. For example if a nurse notices that a patient needs certain medication in order for the patient’s condition to be treated; the nurse will then give a slip called a prescription whereby the patient would take it to the pharmacists to receive the treatment recommended by the nurse.
  3.  Physiotherapists: Nurses would refer a patient to have physiotherapy if they see it necessary for the patient. For example nurses and physiotherapists would work together when dealing with a patient with cystic fibrosis as the nurses would be the ones to give those regular check-ups and the physiotherapist would help through performing breathing techniques such as percussion on the patient in order to help them release the thick sticky mucus in their system.
  4.  Dieticians: A dietician would work with a nurse in order to provide better nutritional care and advice for a patient. Dieticians also plan the menus that the nurses give to the patient. Mostly a dietician and a nurse would work together when dealing with a patient that has conditions such as diabetes and heart disease (6). Nurses would also refer to dietician in order for the dietician to educate the patients
  5. Anaesthetists: If a patient needs an operation and needs to be put to sleep, nurses would work with anaesthetists as they would be the ones to put the patient to sleep and the nurses would need to look after the patient from the time that the operation is done until the patient wakes up.
  6. Occupational therapists: Nurses may refer a client that has osteoarthritis to an occupational therapist in order for the occupational therapist to then help the patient regain independence in doing daily activities such as cooking. Occupational therapists may do this through their therapy techniques such as providing devices that will make daily activities easier for the patient with osteoarthritis (7).
  7. Social workers: Nurses are the ones that refer a patient to a social worker and without a nurse referring them to a social worker the social worker has no need in seeing the patient. The social workers would then refer back to the nurse on how the patient is doing socially and emotionally.
  8. Pain specialist nurse/ Other Nurses: Not only do nurses work with other different practitioners but most of the times they will be working together with each other (9).


Part time and full time work:

The majority of adult nurses work full time but however part time hours which is 18.5 hours a week are also available in different forms (10). The standard working hours a week of an adult nurse who works full time is 37.5 hours; this can include mornings, evenings, weekends, night shifts and even bank holidays (11).


Overtime is available for both part time and full time nurses as all they have to do in order to be granted over time is fill in an overtime slip stating which days they would like to do the overtime, this slip must be filled in and handed in at least 5 years prior to the overtime day  (11).

Annual pay:

Adult nurses salary income usually differs depending on how long they have been a nurse and what position they are in for example; the starting annual salary for an adult nurse is between £21,388 and £27,901 a year (12). Adult nurses that have advanced in this field are known as clinical specialists or nurse team leaders, these people can earn up to £25,500 up to around £50,000 a year; however those privileged enough to excel to the highest type of adult nurses are called nurse consultants will be get an annual salary between £39,000 and £67,000 (12).

Annual leave:

All adult nurses whether they work full time or part time all receive and are entitled to the same amount of annual leave but however what differs it is the number of years they have been with the company (13). Adult nurses will have to negotiate with their managers concerning which days they get the annual leave. Firstly all adult nurses whether newly qualified or not, they are all entitled to the 8 bank holiday days in the year (13). Newly qualified nurses only get 27 days off as annual leave within the whole year compared to nurses whom have been working for 5 years get 29 days off; however after 5 years of service adult nurses will be entitled to 33 days of annual leave which is almost a week more than a newly qualified nurse (13).


Pension is regular money that the government gives to people who have reached the state pension age, which starts at 65 years (14). Nurses who work within the NHS are under the state pension meaning that the most they can get when they retire is £107.45 per week but however; the state pension increases every year so the state pension for 2015 will be more than £107.45 per week (16).

Job security:

The job security of being an adult nurse is very high as wherever you go whether in Europe or Asia, nurses are always going to be needed. This is because people are always going to be ill, people are always going to need someone to look after them so the more people that get ill, the more nurses needed; hence why it is reasonably easy to become a nurse after university as they are high in demand for staff meaning they will forever be needed. Unlike businesses that shut down due to a lack of clients, adult nurses are highly unlikely to be made redundant as there is always work for a nurse to do as there is never going to be a time where everyone is in good health (15).

Anti- discriminatory practice in the workplace:

Anti-discriminatory practice in the workplace is action that is taken to prevent any form of discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, class, gender or age (25). These practices must be put in place to ensure equality and justice for adult nurses during recruitment or in normal working conditions. Legislations such as the Equality Act 2010 are there to safeguard employers as it ensures that, no negative or mistaken assumptions are made towards an employer as it gives everybody an equal chance of being employed. Also the equality act 2010 ensures that reasonable adjustments are made towards employers who need them; the reasonable adjustments could include, shortening the length of shifts, giving rest breaks/ private room to take medication if needed or to even adjust your working hours (26). An equal opportunities policy has to be put in place also which allows adult nurse employers to be treated with dignity and respect and to be allowed flexible service and equal access to services (27). Anti-bullying policies must be also put in place in order to prevent employers bullying one another; this policy includes, employers getting clear guidelines on how to deal with bullying, making all adult nurses aware of the policy and encouraging them to report any bullying that occurs (28). All these legislations are there in order to safeguard and protect all adult nurses working within the workplace.

Working patterns:

Adult nursing is a 24 hour care job so working patterns may differ each day (1). The shifts may include early mornings, evening and night shifts, so therefore the working patterns of an adult nurse will depend on individual choices of the length of the shift they prefer and the time also. A survey was taken on nurses in 2012 to find out which shift they prefer out of a 12 hour one and an 8 hour one; the results showed that 46% favoured the 12 hour shifts and 43% preferred the 8 hour shift (35).

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Social Status (level of public approval):

The social status of a job refers to the rank or position of a person’s job within the society. In 2002 there was a BBC poll that talked about the most respected jobs and according to this poll, nurses were the second most respected practitioners after doctors (17). Adult nurses are still highly esteemed by society because of their care and hospitality towards patients these are shown on television episodes such as one born every minute and A&E; but however the media also portrays the image of a nurse in a negative way ...

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