10 Nursing Roles You Probably Haven’t Considered

10 Nursing Roles You Probably Haven’t Considered

Nurses must wear many hats. From caregiver and teacher to counselor and patient advocate, you will have to juggle many roles during your nursing career.

While many people don’t understand or appreciate the various roles nurses play in the lives of millions of patient’s each year, as a dedicated nurse it’s up to you to juggle these roles, with or without the gratitude you deserve.

To help prepare you for all you’ll be called upon to do, here’s the scoop on 10 overlooked nursing roles performed by nurses each and every day.

10 Roles of the Nurse


Patients have different ailments than others and are at different stages of recovery, so some require more care and attention than others. You may be called upon to perform total care and do just about everything for a patient, or you may have patients who can perform certain duties but not others. No matter how you slice it, one of the many roles of a nurse is to be a caregiver and provide their patients with the best care possible.

Decision Maker

Like doctors, a major role of nurses is to act as decision makers for their patients and must use their critical thinking skills to ensure the best possible outcome. Some decisions nurses must make involve patient evaluations, determining their problems, and employing solutions that promote their health. Nurses are constantly called upon to use their best judgement and determine what is in their patients’ best interest.


In the world of healthcare, effective communication is key. Without effective communication, it’s impossible for a patient to receive the proper care they deserve. Therefore, another one of the many roles of the nurse is that of a communicator. From communicating with doctors and other nurses to communicating with patients and family members, nurses must effectively communicate with others every single day.

Manager of Care

In addition to caring for patients, nurses must manage that care to ensure a cohesive patient care experience. To do so, nurses must coordinate the care provided by specialists and others to ensure every patient’s needs are being met. Thus, the role of a nurse is also that of a manager of care.

Patient Advocate

The role of patient advocate is one of the most important for a nurse. As patient advocates, nurses must protect the rights of their patients, determine what they want, and speak on their behalf.


Many people don’t associate nursing and teaching, but nurses must also act as teachers to their patients and provide them with adequate knowledge about their medications and health issues. Many times, patients need help learning certain steps and procedures. Nurses are obligated to teach them these steps and clear up any confusion that exists.


Leaders influence others and get them to work together in order to accomplish specific goals. When it comes to healthcare, nurses must be leaders to ensure proper patient care. Some people seem like they were born leaders, but becoming an effective leader is a learned process that requires a deep understanding of how to motivate and influence others.

Agent of Change

Nurses act as agents of change when helping patients modify their behaviors. Nurses also make changes to patient care as needed to make them more comfortable and help them return to health. Therefore, in addition to being teachers and healers, nurses are agents of change as well.


Counselors help people recognize and deal with stressful emotional, social, or psychological problems in order to promote personal growth and improve their interpersonal relationships. Nurses must often perform these duties and act as counselors to patients, especially those undergoing or recovering from major medical procedures.

Research Consumer

Last but not least, nurses are also research consumers. Some duties of this role include being aware of the research process, identifying researchable problems, and being a discriminant consumer of medical-related research findings.


So, what is the role of a nurse? As you can see, nurses are called upon to play a number of roles. From patient advocates to research consumers, each of the roles above are equally important and critical components of being a nurse. Nurses are expected to perform each of these roles every day in order to diligently serve their patients and ensure their satisfaction.