Registered Nurse

What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
Registered nurses are in high demand as the health care industry rapidly expands to cater to the rapidly booming population. In fact, nursing occupations comprise the biggest sector of health care with approximately 2.6 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure is likely to increase as a large portion of the population ages and begins relying more on medicine and physical therapy. In addition, the number of children being born that need medical attention to ensure healthy development adds to the need for more nurses as well. Registered nurses work at private health care facilities, physician offices, pharmacies, or hospitals. They can choose to specialize in a number of fields, including elderly care, child care, or trauma units. Registered nurses give insight to the patientís condition, and also discuss treatment methods. They often work with physicians to develop treatment plans or contribute to an existing plan.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for a Registered Nurse?
Nursing is not only a demanding but rewarding career choice, but it is also the largest component of health care and one of the top ten jobs projected to have the most new openings through 2010, according to Mayo Clinic’s School of Health Sciences. There will always be a need for health care professionals, particularly registered nurses, due to the complexity of treating the human body, the unpredictability of disease, and the inevitability of aging. Nurses will continually be needed to perform the basic duties of treating patients and providing other basic health care services to the rising population. Employment opportunities for registered nurses are projected to improve 22 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary of registered nurses is substantial as well, with those working in the field earning an average of $62,450 annually, according to the latest information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become a Registered Nurse?
Aspiring registered nurses must first obtain either a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a diploma from a nursing school, or an associate degree in nursing, otherwise known as an ADN. As there are few diploma programs for nursing available, the most common minimum requirement for registered nurses is an associate degree from an accredited nursing program. ADN programs typically take about two years to complete, during which time students take courses in anatomy, physiology, nursing principals, and other classes designed to increase the student’s awareness of the importance of nursing and nursing practices. Many nursing programs also require that students complete outside clinical work in clinics or public health centers before graduation so that they may gain valuable hands-on working experience. After completing an ADN program, prospective registered nurses must successfully complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in order to become an official registered nurse. Some states and employers also require that registered nurses participate in continuing education programs.