Registered Nurse

 

Registered nurses (RNs) constitute the largest healthcare occupation, with 2.6 million jobs.

 
 

 

Nurses

Nurses

 

What They Do:

Registered nurses (RNs), regardless of specialty or work setting, treat patients, educate patients and the public about various medical conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients’ family members.

RNs record patients’ medical histories and symptoms, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

RNs teach patients and their families how to manage their illnesses or injuries, explaining post-treatment home care needs; diet, nutrition, and exercise programs; and self-administration of medication and physical therapy.

Some RNs may work to promote general health by educating the public on warning signs and symptoms of disease. RNs also might run general health screening or immunization clinics, blood drives, and public seminars on various conditions.

RNs specializing in a particular disease, ailment, or healthcare condition are employed in virtually all work settings, including physicians’ offices, outpatient treatment facilities, home healthcare agencies, and hospitals.

Some nurses have jobs that require little or no direct patient care, but still require an active RN license. Examples include forensics nurses, nurse educators, infection control nurses, and nurse informatics.

Where They Work:

Most RNs work in well-lit, comfortable healthcare facilities. Home health and public health nurses travel to patients’ homes, schools, community centers, and other sites. RNs may spend considerable time walking, bending, stretching, and standing. Patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities require 24-hour care; consequently, nurses in these institutions may work nights, weekends, and holidays.

How Much They Earn:

Overall job opportunities are excellent for registered nurses. In fact, some employers report difficulty in attracting and retaining an adequate number of RNs. Employment of RNs is expected to grow much faster than the average and will continue to be among the largest number of new jobs for any occupation.

It is also a very well paying job. Median annual wages of registered nurses were $62,450 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,640 and $76,570. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,240.

 

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Education and Certification:

The three typical educational paths to registered nursing are a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, and a diploma from an approved nursing program. Nurses most commonly enter the occupation by completing an associate degree or bachelor’s degree program. Individuals then must complete a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license. Advanced practice nurses—clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners—need a master’s degree.

All nursing education programs include classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other behavioral sciences, and nursing. Coursework also includes the liberal arts for ADN and BSN students.

Before you enroll in any nursing degree program, ensure that the program is accredited top accreditation bodies like, the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

 

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