Registered Nurse (RN)

Pros


  • Nurses are an integral part of the medical process, and are there to help people every step of the way.
  • This career field is one of the fastest growing out there; demand for nurses is very high.
  • The field of nursing is a good one for those who do not want to go to school for a very long time as is required for many other medical occupations.

Cons

  • Many nurses work long hours, and often are scheduled for swing shifts or late-night shifts.
  • You must be good with people, because often these people will be in pain or have serious problems.
  • You will spend a lot of time of your feet.

Overview

Registered nurses, often known as RNs, spend their time treating patients as well as educating them about medical conditions. They assist other medical professionals by recording symptoms and vital statistics, performing diagnostic tests, operating medical equipment and following up with patients regarding medication. They also will educate patients about preventive health, informing them about proper diet and exercise as well as ways to prevent injuries.

To help treat patients, registered nurses usually work from an outlined plan of care recommended by a doctor, often in collaboration with an RN. This usually encompasses a schedule of medication and treatment sessions, as well as routine check-ups with patients to measure statistics such as blood pressure. They spend a lot of time observing patients, but there are many other tasks that they take on. Depending on their education and training, they often have duties assisting doctors in operating rooms, performing therapeutic procedures, or provide care for patients that are in transport from one medical facility to another.

There are a diverse set of work environments a registered nurse may work in. A large proportion of them work in hospitals, but many of them also provide care to patients at home as home health RNs. Some can work in private clinics or retirement homes caring for the elderly. They can work in schools or the military. It usually depends on the particular interest a registered nurse has that dictates where they work.

Education

One can become a registered nurse by getting a bachelor’s, an associate’s or a diploma degree in nursing. At a minimum, entry level registered nurses need to have a diploma degree in order to work in the field, which is usually offered at special training centers or hospitals. Many find that they need to complete more education in order to advance and work in a specific concentration that they want to. They also must become licensed as a registered nurse by taking the NCLEX-RN, the official nursing license exam.

Job Prospects

Prospects for registered nurses are very good. The field of RNs is the largest by far in the medical profession, and there is very high growth expected in the coming years. Technological advances have made many illnesses possible to treat, and the bulk of this work will be performed by nurses. An increasingly aging population will be requiring treatment by registered nurses, and this along with the demand for more preventive care will be the catalysts for continued growth in this profession.

Advancement Opportunities

There are a lot of educational opportunities for registered nurses that will allow them to advance, up to master’s programs, and there are many opportunities available to them. Many RNs will continue to study and train once they start working and usually move into roles with increased responsibility. Registered nurses can specialize into particular fields or they can take on administrative roles within their organization. They can also be found working in business settings managing emergency response care, chronic care or even educational settings where they spend their time teaching students.