RN DOU (Direct Observation Unit) Job Description

Updated August 18, 2016

Registered nurses are deployed in various units and wards in a hospital, depending on the hospital’s roster system and the individual abilities of each nurse. One such unit is the DOU – direct observation unit – where patients who have serious illnesses or conditions are admitted for treatment. Registered nurses who are assigned to work in a direct observation unit need to possess experience in handling complicated cases.

To work as a registered nurse in a DOU of a hospital, you need to possess a degree in nursing, BLS and ACLS certification and of course, experience in a similar role. If you possess a minimum of one year experience as a staff RN in critical care, you may be considered a good choice to hire. An RN working in a direct observation unit has to be on her feet all the time which is why it is important to be alert and knowledgeable about each assigned patient’s illness or condition.

Depending on your specific job placement, you may be hired in a neonatology, pediatric, gerontology or geriatric DOU. Your basic work may be the same in any of these areas, but you will have to possess specific knowledge of the area – for instance children’s diseases in the pediatric DOU and old age medical problems in the geriatric DOU. Your basic duties will include:

RN DOU (Direct Observation Unit) Job Description

• Look through each assigned patient’s medical files and comprehend the nature and severity of disease or condition
• Create and maintain patients’ charts by ensuring that all information is current and accurate
• Establish and implement patient care programs to meet the individual physical, medical and emotional requirements of each patient
• Work with nursing leadership to develop strategic plans to ensure patient comfort and wellbeing
• Monitor each patient on a constant basis to ensure his or her response to treatment and log pertinent information
• Respond quickly and accurately to changes in patients’ conditions or emergency situations by employing critical response / care directives
• Ascertain that PCTs are properly deployed to care for patients’ specific personal needs such as grooming and toileting
• Maintain standards of care within the direct observation unit and ensure that they are properly followed
• Communicate with physicians regarding assigned patients’ conditions and ensure that any changes in medical treatment are incorporated into the plan
• Create and maintain patients’ records in an accurate and confidential manner
• Provide basic life support such as CPR in the event of patients’ conditions worsening during observation or treatment