RN Role in Primary Care

Primary care is the foundation of healthcare. It provides a way to access an interprofessional team of healthcare providers who address personal and integrated healthcare needs while partnering with patients in the community.

Those who receive an RN in Primary Care certificate will be prepared to implement evidence-based practices and work with patients in the prevention and management of chronic illness. The certificate will allow you to enhance your role as a registered nurse and to practice to the full scope of your license in primary care settings. 

Click below to learn more about the RN role in primary care.

Who is the primary care team?
  • Providers generally include
    • Physicians (MD/DO)
    • Advanced practice nurses including nurse practitioners and midwives
    • Physician assistants
  • Healthcare providers on the interprofessional team may include:
    • Registered nurses
    • Medical Assistants
    • Social work
    • Counselors
  • Primary care may include general primary care or one of the following: 
    • Internal medicine
    • Geriatrics
    • Pediatrics
    • Maternity care
What is the role of the RN in primary care?
  • The role of the RN in primary care is to provide nursing care to a diverse group of patients and families, across a lifespan in a community-based setting using the knowledge, skills and abilities of the nursing profession.
  • The RN is a central team member in the delivery of quality and cost-effective primary care services.
  • The RN may be responsible for managing a group of patients who require intensive oversight of a nursing professional.
  • The RN helps individuals, families and groups reach their maximum level of wellness through a variety of techniques including health coaching.
What are the skills of the RN in primary care?
  • The following list provides examples of a vast range of skills required for this role, but it is not exhaustive:
    • Motivational interviewing
    • Health guidance
    • Coordinating care
    • Chronic disease management
    • Telehealth
    • Managing transitions between levels of care
    • Team development
    • Team leadership
    • Patient education
    • Physical assessment
    • Medication administration
    • Vaccine management
    • Injections
    • Specific office-based procedures based on policies and procedures (IV hydration, EKG, ultrasound, pap smear, eye and ear exam, diabetic foot exam, phlebotomy, point of care testing, screenings and assessments)
Why should I work in primary care?
  • Looking for a place in nursing where you can build long-lasting and trusting relationships with patients, families, and communities
  • Desire to work with diverse populations with diverse health needs and concerns
  • Ability to provide holistic nursing care to patients and families
  • Flexible nursing interventions that are patient-specific
  • Focus on health promotion and health protection
  • Work in a truly interdisciplinary environment bringing the knowledge skills and abilities of the nursing profession
  • Have the opportunity to work with patients across the age span
Settings in primary care
  • Primary care provider offices and clinics
  • Community health centers nurse-led clinics
  • Pediatric provider offices and clinics
  • Internal medicine clinics
  • Family practice offices
  • Geriatric clinics
  • Clinics within schools
What does top of scope/top of license mean?
  • Working to the top of your scope as an RN requires you to utilize the full breadth of your education, training, and expertise to bring better health outcomes to your patients. It requires the need for the RN to be an advocate for the nursing profession and to role model lifelong learning.
  • Working to the top of your license is regulated by State Boards of Nursing

If you are ready to take the next step in pursuing an RN in Primary Care certificate, learn more about our admissions process here. Questions? Contact us at nursing@osu.edu.