Registered nurses, better known as RN’s make up the majority of workers in the medical field and health care industry. Despite all of the advancements and improvements in the medical world, the traditional field of nursing is still a vital and integral role in the delivery of medical services.
Being a registered nurse is both a challenging and a rewarding occupation. RN’s may work days, nights, evening shifts, weekends or be on-call at all hours. They hold positions of seniority over licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants and nurses aids and may be in charge of assigning tasks in a hospital environment. Nurses, in both hospital and clinical settings are exposed to a variety of medical conditions. Because of their high demand, nurses command fairly lucrative salaries. They also gain the satisfaction of making a valuable impact on the lives of their patients and patient’s families. RN’s can also have very diverse jobs depending on where they work and what specialties or expertise they have gained.
A registered nurse is responsible for the basic needs of their patients. This care is provided in a variety of settings, including: operating rooms, intensive care, recovery rooms, physicians offices, healthcare clinics, nursing homes, mental institutions, schools and specialty health practices. This diversity in nursing careers offers great opportunity to individuals interested in this career path. This is especially true at this time when there is a nursing shortage and need for qualified nurses.
As more and more care becomes “out-patient” most registered nurses can now be found working in teams in healthcare facilities and clinics. Most positions offer direct one on one interaction with patients though some positions involve little or no direct patient care and varying roles with health care staff. Some of the most common responsibilities of a RN include:
- Observing and recording a patients medical history and symptoms; taking vital signs.
- Establishing a plan of patients care, adding to an existing one plan and putting the plan into action.
- Managing and assigning tasks to licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants and other staff.
- Providing emotional support for patients and their families
If a nurse decides to work outside of a health care facility there is a different set of nursing careers available to them. Some of these include clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and nurse anesthetists.
Education and Training
Nursing education and training varies and allows for a great deal of flexibility. Shorter programs will lead to certification as a Licensed Practical Nurse. More advanced degrees or additional training will lead to certification as a Registered Nurse.
Registered nursing is one of the fastest-growing medical career fields. Because of the nursing shortage, almost 600,000 new jobs are projected to be opening in the next decade. This will increase the current number of positions by over 20 percent. Many hospitals offer signing bonuses, family-friendly work schedules or subsidized continuing education for new employees. Many people currently providing care in nursing are expected to retire, leaving a large vacancy in the profession. There is a great need to fill these positions with a new and younger workforce. Registered nursing schools are accepting new applicants and helping them reach their nursing education goals.
Nursing is the largest occupation in health care, with the majority working in full-time positions. Earning credentials as a registered nurse can also help to open the doors to higher and more specialized medical professions. Embrace this opportunity as a rewarding career welcomes the next generation of registered nurses.