People in Slovenia are often confused in their perception of a nurse; specifically about the degree of education nurses receive and their professional competencies. Mostly the misunderstandings concern the qualifications of assistant nurses and registered nurses. Nurses in Slovenia are registered nurses who have completed their higher education studies in nursing, with a curriculum of at least 4600 hours, of which at least 2300 hours are spent in direct contact with the clinical environment.

The curriculum must be entirely in accordance with the EU Directive 2005/36/EC for regulated professions, the Bologna reform and the recommendations of international bodies and associations from the field of education in nursing. Registered nurses are actively involved in the medical and technical procedures that are performed according to an illness and defined by a doctor, but in a broader sense their work is focused on helping the patient and their family members. They recognize the existing and potential problems of patients with such basic activities as eating, breathing, walking, personal hygiene, and communication. Also, they offer patients support when it comes to lack of knowledge, questions of faith, social contacts, dealing with pain, fear, altered self-image, and play an important role in health education work.

All this reflects the many different nursing approaches that have to be used in patient care, making nursing an integral part of health care. The work of a nurse is supported by theoretical models and approaches to patient care, by the elementary knowledge for understanding disease processes, and by social sciences.