Registered Nurse – A Career With Opportunity

Registered nurses (RN) make up the largest occupation in the healthcare industry. RNs work with patients and their families to prevent disease, promote health and assist ill patients. When working directly with patients, a registered nurse observes and records patient symptoms, administers medication, and assists in surgery or treatment. Other registered nurses work in administration. They oversee nursing stations or work within the community teaching about healthy lifestyles.

Career Opportunities

The majority of RN’s work in hospitals. Hospital nurses carry out medical treatments and assist in bedside care. Some perform supervisory roles. Typically, a nurse works in a specialized department, such as pediatrics, surgery, emergency, or maternity. However, some will rotate between departments.

Nurses who work in physicians’ offices, clinics, or medical centers are referred to as office nurses. They prepare patients for exams, assist the doctor during examinations, administer medication, and maintain patient records. Some are responsible for laboratory work.

Nursing care facility nurses work in nursing or retirement homes. Administrative duties take up much of their time on the job. However, they also have supervisory responsibilities. Patient treatment plans are usually developed based on a nurse’s observations. Some registered nurses specialize by working with Alzheimer’s patients or stroke victims.

Home health nurses travel to a patient’s home. They work independently, sometimes supervising home health aides. They assist a variety of patients: those recovering from surgery, the elderly, childbirth patients, or cancer patients.

The government and private agencies hire public health nurses. These nurses work within the community to advice families and individuals on healthcare matters, such as diets, immunizations, childcare, or preventive care.

Occupational health nurses, or industrial nurses, provide care at worksites. They often perform health exams, offer emergency assistance, and prepare accident reports for employees.

Head nurses and nurse supervisors typically work in hospitals. They plan work schedules, train new employees, and observe nurses on the job. Ordering supplies and maintaining equipment are also job requirements.

Nurse practitioners earn certification or licensure for this advanced position and complete additional education. They are able to prescribe medications, as well as, diagnose and treat common illnesses. Other advanced nursing positions are clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives.

Necessary Qualifications

All nurses must graduate from an approved nursing school program and obtain a passing score on the national licensure exam. Periodic license renewal is required in all states. Three options are available to nursing candidates. Colleges offer a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN). Community and junior colleges offer 2-year programs that result in an Associate degree in Nursing (ADN). Hospitals also offer a diploma program that takes approximately three years to complete. A bachelor’s degree is often necessary for supervisory or administrative positions.

Registered nurses should be detail-oriented, caring, and understanding. They must be emotionally stable in order to deal with a patient’s suffering.

Salary and Advancement

Nurses begin in an entry-level position. With experience and, sometimes an advanced degree, they can move up to supervisory positions. Some move into the business side of healthcare. Others conduct research or teach in universities.

Nursing salaries range from $33,000 to $70,000 per year. Due to the need for shifts, nurses are able to choose a work schedule that fits their needs. Most receive childcare and educational benefits. Bonuses are often awarded.