What Does A Staff Nurse Do? (Skills And Responsibilities)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A staff nurse performs a wide range of activities, including treating patients, performing basic care procedures and providing emotional support to patients and their families. A role as a staff nurse can be a fulfilling career choice, as you can bring a positive change in a patient's life. Having knowledge about the roles and responsibilities of a staff nurse can help you decide if this is the career you want to pursue. In this article, we find the answer to “What does a staff nurse do?” and explore the essential skills and steps to become a staff nurse.

What does a staff nurse do?

If you are considering a career in healthcare, you may ask, "What does a staff nurse do?". Here are some major duties and responsibilities of a staff nurse:

Monitor patient's health

Staff nurses take care of patients' physical and mental health throughout the treatment process. They monitor the health conditions of patients and prepare them for relevant treatment. Staff nurses follow any progress in a patient's health and record them to aid in the future. From preventing illness to administering relevant medications, staff nurses perform different activities to improve patients' health.

Administer medication

Usually, doctors send the medication request for a patient to the staff nurses. It is the responsibility of a staff nurse to administer the prescribed medication to the patients. After providing medication, they stay with patients and observe their conditions for a few minutes. Staff nurses ensure all patients get a timely dose of medication. They may monitor the patients' reactions to any medications and relay these reactions to the physicians. Staff nurses may also consult with the pharmacists to better understand the uses and doses of different medications.

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Maintain medical record

Staff nurses maintain a high quality of patient care by keeping the medical records of patients. Usually, they maintain medical records on the computer and use different software systems and tools. Staff nurses also record patient histories and symptoms. Recording patients' vital signs and health conditions help staff nurses give proper treatment to patients. Staff nurses ask patients about their medical history and gather relevant information about previous treatments and medications. They often record the temperature, weight and blood pressure of patients.

Diagnose and test patients

One of the most major responsibilities of a staff nurse is to perform diagnostic tests and check the vitals of patients. They collect blood or urine samples and send them for analysis. Staff nurses also evaluate diagnostic tests and analyse the health conditions of patients. They create reports describing the results of these tests and share them with doctors and the rest of their medical team. Conducting physical examinations is also a part of staff nurses' job.

Operate medical equipment

Nursing involves working with a wide range of tools and equipment. Staff nurses may use thermometers, blood pressure measuring machines, stethoscopes and glucometers to take care of patients. They get training for operating specialised medical equipment such as ventilation. Some staff nurses also work as an operator of medical equipment.

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Skills for a staff nurse

Here are the important skills for a staff nurse:


Empathy is an essential skill for staff nurses as it helps them to get emotionally connected with their patients. Empathy helps them to understand a patient's mental health and take care of them accordingly. By developing a good staff nurse-patient relationship, they can help in better treatment of patients. Staff nurses can develop empathy by allowing patients to speak and get comfortable with the medical staff.

Communication skills

Both written and verbal communication are essential skills for a staff nurse. Staff nurses with great verbal skills may easily develop a trustworthy relationship with patients. Active listening and presentation skills can help staff nurses improve their communication skills. Staff nurses often interact directly with doctors, patients and their family members. They require good communication skills to accurately describe the condition of patients to the doctor and the patient's family.

Physical stamina

The role of staff nurse requires them to be in strong physical condition as they may often stand or move around throughout their shifts. Staff nurses often move patients by lifting them from one bed to another. Improving physical fitness helps staff nurses to perform their tasks really well. Nursing is physically demanding and by keeping themselves fit, nurses can take on any patient-related matter. Maintaining strong physical and mental health can help staff nurses better maintain their hectic work hours.

Technology skills

Since staff nurses operate different kinds of medical equipment and software systems, technology skills can be essential for them. Having effective technical skills helps staff nurses to provide a better experience to the patients. Knowledge of various equipment and how to use them improves accuracy and reduces the chances of errors. Staff nurses are well-trained to effectively use different technological equipment in the health industry.

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Problem-solving skills

Problem-solving skills help staff nurses find the solutions to improve a patient's medical health. A staff nurse often solves instant problems during an emergency situation. They think critically during such situations and also determine the outcomes of different possible solutions. With problem-solving skills, staff nurses can make important decisions and address different issues or challenges in the absence of a doctor.


Staff nurses often work with difficult patients in their dynamic environment. Having patience helps them to handle such patients calmly and professionally. Nurses with patience are likely to address and resolve common problems more easily. Staff nurses also require patience to cooperate with their teams and make patients feel better.

How to become a staff nurse

Here are the steps to become a staff nurse:

1. Complete 10+2

The first step to becoming a staff nurse is to complete your 10+2 with physics, chemistry and biology as your major subjects from a recognised institute. You can also take mathematics as an optional subject. Candidates with a minimum of 50% marks in the higher secondary examination can appear in the staff nurse entrance examination.

2. Qualify for the entrance exam

Depending on the type of college, there are several entrance exams for staff nurses. For example, candidates who want to get admission to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) can appear in its BSc Nursing entrance examination. BHU and Indian Army's BSc Nursing entrance exams are also popular. After qualifying for the entrance examination, candidates get admission to the colleges depending on their marks.

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3. Complete your graduation

After qualifying for the entrance examination, candidates can pursue a four-year undergraduate programme to learn the foundation of nursing. Some of the popular graduation courses to become a staff nurse are BSc Nursing, BSc Physiology and BSc Chemistry. Candidates can also pursue the General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) course, which is an undergraduate level diploma programme. The duration of the GNM course is three and a half years, which includes six months of internship.

4. Earn a nursing license

Candidates with a bachelor's degree are eligible to apply for a nursing license. You can register with your State Nursing Registration Council to get a license. Those with a bachelor's degree can register as a Registered Nurse (RN), while those with a GNM diploma can register as a Registered Nurse Registered Midwife (RNRM).

5. Join an entry-level position

Joining internships is an effective way for a staff nurse fresher to gain an understanding of how the health industry operates. During internships, candidates learn how to perform clinical procedures on the patient under the supervision of a registered nurse. You can look for vacancies in different hospitals for practising as a staff nurse.

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6. Gain a master's degree

Completing your master's degree can give you more experience and knowledge about nursing. A master's degree in nursing helps staff nurses get better job roles with good pay scales. There are many courses available for a master's degree, such as MSc in nursing or public health nursing, MSc in mental health nursing and MSc in advanced clinical nursing.

How much does a staff nurse make?

The average salary of a registered staff nurse is ₹17,190 per month. The salaries of staff nurses depend on their speciality and job location. For example, the average salary of a registered staff nurse in Mumbai, Maharashtra, is ₹22,097 per month while a registered staff nurse in Gurgaon, Haryana, earns ₹19,252 per month. Similarly, a registered nurse with a speciality in the operating room has an average salary of ₹19,579 per month while a registered nurse with expertise in medical/surgery earns ₹29,414 per month. Staff nurses can increase their salaries by gaining more experience in the health industry.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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