Registered nurse essential career information:
- 2012 median pay: $65,470
- 2012, number of jobs: 2,633,980
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 26 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Associate’s degree
Registered nurses; what they do:
A registered nurse career attracts people interested in caring for the sick and interested in the fields of science, medicine, and technology.
Registered nurses assess patient health issues, implement nursing care plans and treat the sick, injured and disabled as well as organize and maintain medical records. Registered nurse careers may include educating patients on disease prevention and developing health education clinics, such as a community outreach program.
A registered nurse career is not for the faint of heart. It takes a great deal of patience, physical stamina and in many cases, a strong stomach, to deal with the vast array of emotional and life threatening situations nurses face each day.
A typical day for a registered nurse consists of observing patients and recording daily medical histories, dispensing medications, consulting with doctors and other medical professionals on patient progress, and educating both patient and family members on how to treat the illness or injury after discharge.
Many nurses oversee other licensed nurses and work in specific disease treatment areas as well as work outside of clinical settings as hospital administrators, case managers and healthcare consultants.
Registered nurses job titles:
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist
- Addiction Nurses
- Cardiovascular Nurses
- Critical Care Nurses
- Genetics Nurses
- Neonatology Nurses
- Nephrology Nurses
- Rehabilitation Nurses
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
- Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Nurse Anesthetists
- Nurse Midwives
- Nurse Practitioners
Registered Nurses Education, Certification and License Requirements
Registered nurses typically need at least an Associate in Nursing degree to begin a nursing career. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs usually take four years to complete and include more training in areas such as communication and leadership. A BSN is also important if a registered nurse wants to explore areas outside hospital settings such as research and administrative positions.
Alternatively, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program usually takes two to three years to complete and takes place in a vocational school or community college setting. Supervised clinical training and experience is also part of all degree programs and can take place in numerous areas such as home health agencies, walk-in clinics and other care facilities. Registered nurses with an ADN or diploma can also work towards a BSN by completing an RN-to-BSN program.
Registered nurses programs cover subjects such as:
- Developmental issues in nursing
- Science and technology in nursing
Registered Nurses Job Outlook
Forecast: 26 percent employment growth for registered nurses between 2010 and 2020.
Technological advancements, preventive care education and the increasing aging baby boomer population demanding better healthcare services as they live longer, increases the demand for nurses.
The growing popularity of outpatient centers, residential care facilities and physicians’ offices increases the demand for registered nurses in these clinical settings. High nurse turnover rates also increase job opportunities for registered nurses as well as the need to keep highly qualified nurses.
Clinical nurse specialists, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners are in higher demand, especially in medically underserved areas such as inner cities.
Registered Nurses Salary
- 2012 median annual wage: $65,470
- 2012 workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $78,700
- 2012, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $53,670
- General and surgical hospitals
- Physician’s offices
- Nursing care facilities
- Home healthcare facilities