What Is a Registered Nurse?
Registered nurses are responsible for the care of patients who are receiving treatment at a health care facility. This may require them to conduct duties like recording medical histories, making notes of symptoms, performing diagnostic tests, operating medical machinery, administering medications, and analyzing test results.
They also provide patients and their families with emotional support, educate them about their conditions, and teach them how to manage illnesses or injuries. Nurses often work closely with physicians to establish treatment plans or help carry them out. This can include making sure that medication is given to the patient, managing patient’s IV lines, making sure patient’s participate in certain therapies, and observing patient behavior.
Registered nurses work in healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, and private offices where they spend most of their time traveling between patient’s rooms and other areas of the building. Depending on their place of employment nurses can work during regular business hours or in hourly shifts which can take place at any time of day or night. It is not uncommon for them to work evenings, weekends, and holidays.
How to Become a Registered Nurse
Those interested in becoming registered nurses administrators must earn a diploma, associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In these types of nursing programs, students learn about the science behind nursing and how it is put into practice through clinical work at health care facilities. Common courses include anatomy and physiology, complex nursing, chemistry, health assessment, pathophysiology, adult nursing, pharmacology, psychology, and childbearing-family nursing.
They then must pass a national licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to earn a license to practice nursing. Along with having the ability to assess patient conditions and carry out proper treatment, it is important that nurses are able to be caring and sympathetic toward their patients.
Strong candidates for nursing positions will be detail-oriented, have effective communication skills, and be able to exercise good judgment. Many nurses start out in entry-level positions within general nursing before advancing to higher positions within specific areas.
Registered Nurse Career Outlook & Salary
It is a little known secret that there is a growing demand for nurses, and this demand shows no signs of stopping any time soon. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses is projected to increase by 22% within the next decade. This is due to an increasing amount of technological advances in patient care, more of an emphasis on preventative care, and a growing elderly population.
Job growth is especially expected within the offices of physicians, home health care services, and nursing care facilities. Even with plenty of job opportunities within the field of nursing, competition will be present for jobs at physicians’ offices and outpatient care center due to their comfortable working environments.
Candidates with bachelor’s degrees and advanced practice specialties are expected to have the best job prospects. The Bureau reported that the median annual wages of registered nurses was $62,450 in May 2008.