What Nurses do
Registered Nurses (RNs) provide patient care as well as educate patients and populations about different health conditions. They record medical histories and symptoms of patients; watch them and write down the observations, administer treatments and medications, consult and partner with doctors and healthcare professionals to give the best care, and operate medical equipment.
Other functions include helping with diagnostic tests and analysis of the results, explaining to patients and families how they can manage illnesses, and teaching them what to do after treatment while at home. Nurses are tasked with providing emotional support to patients and families. Most nurses work in more than one area of practice.
Popular Nursing Careers
- Cardiovascular Nurses:they care for heart surgery patients and people with heart disease.
- Neonatology Nurses:they care for newborn babies.
- Critical Care Nurses:they give care to patients in intensive-care units, treating and closely monitoring them.
- Addiction Nurses:they work with patients who are addicted to drugs, alcohol or substances, to help them overcome the addiction and live better lives.
- Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs):they are advanced practice nurses who give both direct and indirect care to patients. They take on leadership roles where they direct and advise nursing staff.
- Rehabilitation Nurses:they care for patients with disabilities.
- Genetics Nurses:they handle patients with genetic disorders, providing screening, counseling and treatment.
- Nephrology Nurses:they deal with patients who have kidney-related health issues.
Steps to Becoming a Registered Nurse
Step 1: GET INTO A NURSING PROGRAM
There are different paths / nursing programs that will get you the title of registered nurse. These include the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), diploma and associate degree, BSN, MSN and Doctor of Nursing. Find a school where you can enroll for an accredited nursing degree. It’s the first step towards a nursing career.2
Step 2: SIT FOR THE NCLEX-RN / NCLEX-PN EXAMINATION
Upon completion of a nursing program, the graduate is required to register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in order to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination which is a licensure exam. Passing the text will get you a license to practice, which is given by the state licensing board.
Step 3: SEEK ACTUAL EXPERIENCE AS AN EMPLOYED RNCE
After you’ve registered as a nurse and acquired your practice license, you can now move onto finding employment. Graduates of nursing programs may find employment in a variety of settings including physicians’ offices, schools and hospitals.4
Step 4: PLAN FOR ADVANCED EDUCATION
Registered Nurses who wish to advance in their careers will need to go back to school to further their education. For diploma and ADN nurses, they have the option to join BSN and MSN programs through the RN-BSN and RN-MSN degrees. Further education will get you to practice in more advanced settings, letting you choose a specific area of focus.
Careers with an Associate Degree in Nursing
With an associate degree in nursing, one can easily begin their careers in hospitals, ambulatory health care and other areas that are not necessarily related to acute care. Examples of careers worth exploring are as follows:
Registered Nurse (RN)
As a registered nurse (RN), one may work in a hospital, rehabilitation center, medical center or senior care facilities, promoting health and wellness. Their main tasks include assessing health needs of patients, developing nursing care for patients, keeping medical records, giving nursing care to the sick, disabled and injured, and educating patients on prevention of diseases.
Nurse Case Manager
A Nurse Case Manager is expected to evaluate their patients’ needs and devise a care plan that suits them; the plan could focus nutrition, treatment, exercise and medication among other things. They are in charge of admitting and discharging patients in hospitals, home care and hospices.
Registered Nurse (RN) Supervisor
For one to become a Registered Nurse Supervisor, they have to have at least an Associate Degree in Nursing plus years of experience giving care in a hospital or long-term care establishment. They are usually in charge of other Registered Nurses and are tasked with ensuring that health and safety regulations & standards are followed. They also evaluate patients’ statuses, administer treatments and give them medication.
Assistant Director of Nursing
An Assistant Director of Nursing answers to the Director of Nursing and oversees the nursing staff. Some of their duties include planning rotations and systems that will enhance quality care, staff evaluation and address complaints or problems related with the nursing staff.
A Nursing Manager is usually in charge of all nursing staff in a small health facility but in large facilities, they could head a particular unit such as the ICU. They ensure that nurses meet regulations, standards, guidelines and practice requirements that are already in place. They are required to create systems that will promote patient care. Nursing managers introduce programs that will help in the development of staff and also conduct performance reviews.
What can I do with a Bachelors Degree in Nursing?
There are several career options for graduates of a Bachelor’s degree in nursing. These include:
Long Term Care Nursing Director
A long term care nursing director is tasked with ensuring that all regulations are observed, staff development and setting of goals. They work in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) and nursing homes, carrying out administrative duties such as preparing budgets and purchasing of supplies. They direct administrative and clinical staff and oversee business planning. They are also required to maintain relationships with patients and their families.
Director of Nursing
A Nursing Director is tasked with ensuring that all services rendered by the nursing staff are in compliance with state and federal regulations as well as professional standards. They are in charge of inventory and the distribution of products. They also create budgets and oversee all operations within their departments.
Nurse Case Manager
A nurse case manager works with patients and healthcare providers to establish a treatment plan that is suitable for the patients. They are also required to reach out to the patient’s insurance company to establish their eligibility for particular programs and treatments. Part of their job is to help patients receive the best health care. They perform evaluations and exams on the patient then create a treatment plan that befits them.
Registered Nurse (RN)
A registered nurse is tasked with promoting health and wellness. They must have the ability to work in a team. Some of their duties include attending to the injured, ill and convalescent, evaluating the needs of a patient, devising a nursing care plan for patients, updating patients’ medical records and advising patients on the maintenance of health. They may mentor, train and coach new nurses.
Clinical Nurse Manager
A Clinical Nurse Manager supervises and coordinates nurses that work under them. They create schedules for the nurses and address their concerns and complaints. They are tasked with selection, coaching / training and staff development. They also monitor budgets and take part in the development of programs or the facility. They ensure that the facility complies with regulations by the state and federal authority.
The responsibilities of a Nurse Manager include preparing schedules for nurses, calling in alternate nurses to replace absent nurses, ensuring cleanliness in patients’ rooms and overseeing compliance of health standards and regulations. They are expected to develop and carry out programs that will help with the development of nursing staff.
Registered Nurse (RN) Supervisor
A Registered Nurse Supervisor’s duties are mainly administrative. Normally, they lead a team of other nurses, ensuring that operations run smoothly and that patients receive the best care. They interact with patients directly, giving them care and treatment as well as medication. They also communicate to patients their test results and ensure that the patients’ records are updated.
Family Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Family Nurse Practitioners (NP) can act as primary care providers and also diagnose and treat medical conditions. They refer patients to specialists if need be. Depending on a doctor’s diagnosis, a nurse practitioner may prescribe medication to a patient and change dosages. They are required to counsel patients and give them therapeutic treatment.
Careers and Salaries with a Masters Degree in Nursing
Earning a Master’s degree in nursing can help to fast track your career and open opportunities to positions of more responsibility.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners work closely with physicians giving them assistance during medical procedures such as surgery. They give patients therapeutic treatments that will help them heal from psychiatric illnesses. They are able to prescribe medication or treatment with the approval of a physician. They also order tests and interpret the results to patients.
A Nursing Manager is required to familiarize themselves with federal and state nursing care guidelines. It’s their responsibility to ensure that everyone working under them follows guidelines, policies and regulations that are already in place. They are also tasked with hiring nurses.
Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)
An Acute Care Nurse Practitioner provides acute care to patients. They assess a patient’s needs, carry out physical tests and administer medicine. They are required to document patients’ treatment plans as well as symptoms and signs that could symbolize changes in patients. They also explain treatment procedures to patients and their families. An acute care nurse practitioner reports to the Acute Care Nurse Manager.
Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP)
An adult nurse practitioner (ANP) works with adults over the age of 21. They conduct physical examinations and determine what types of tests need to be done. They consult with physicians and health professionals to give the best care to patients with chronic and acute illnesses. They are also tasked with ensuring that patients receive cost-effective treatments.
Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner
An Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner is trained to conduct physical exams and physical therapy as well as to prescribe medication. They can also order certain tests and treatment procedures on patients. They assist physicians during medical procedures and also give counsel to patients.
Most of the duties of a nurse practitioner (NP) are similar to those a physician. They are able to diagnose conditions, treat patients and prescribe medication. Some may work for insurance companies, as sole care givers to patients. They monitor treatments and their effects. They also advise patients on their health –improvements and needs.
Family Nurse Practitioner
A Family Nurse Practitioner diagnoses and treats common illnesses and gives referrals to specialists where need be. They handle all patients, from young children to senior citizens. With a physician’s approval, a Family Nurse Practitioner can administer therapy on a patient.
Careers with a Doctorate Degree in Nursing
With a doctorate in nursing, one can go ahead to become an Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP). Mentioned below are some of their duties:
- Conduct physical examinations and evaluations of patients.
- Order tests to establish a patient’s clinical needs.
- Document their findings and together with a physician and medical staff create a treatment plan that befits the patient.
- Prescribe therapeutic procedures that will benefit the patient and carry out preventive health measures as directed by a physician.
Nursing Licensures and Certifications
For licensures, the board requires verification of a candidate’s graduation from an approved pre-licensure program, whether a RN or LVN/PN program. They also require proof that you successfully completed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN examination.
Some RNs acquire certifications in areas such as pediatrics and ambulatory care, through professional associations.
Important skills for a Registered Nurse
- Critical-thinking Skills:these will help them know when to make referrals or take corrective measures whenever they observe changes in the health status of patients.
- Communication Skills:they need these skills in order to communicate clearly with patients and other health care teams. They will need to listen to and understand the concerns of patients so that they can examine them accordingly. They also must explain treatment procedures to patients in a way that they understand.
- Organizational skills:because nurses attend to many patients, they’ll need to prioritize each patient and ensure that they receive the best care.
- Compassion:nurses are required to show empathy and care when attending to patients.
- Emotional stability:they need to be able to manage their emotions in order to handle emergencies and other stresses related to their jobs.
- Physical stamina:because nurses will spend most of their work time on their feet, they should be able to carry out physical tasks.
- Detail oriented:they must always ensure that patients receive the correct treatment and medications at the right time.
Registered Nurses Salaries Compared with other Similar Careers
How Registered Nurses Median Pay Compare with other similar Occupations010,00020,00030,00040,00050,00060,00070,00080,00090,000100,000110,000Registered NurseEMTs and ParamedicsLicensed Practical and Licensed VocationalNursesSocial WorkersDental HygienistsPhysician AssistantsNurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, andNurse PractitionersMedian Pay ($)Similar Occupations
|EMTs and Paramedics||31,980|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||43,170|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists||63,630|
|Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners||104,740|
Career Resources for Nursing Degree Students
American Nurses Association (ANA) is the organization that brings together and represents the more than 3 million registered nurses in the country. It focuses on the health and wellness of nurses, issues of healthcare affecting the public and nurses, and raises the standards of nursing practice to advance the profession.
The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) is a professional association of licensed occupational and environmental health nursing. It sets professional conduct standards for the nurses, promotes safety of nurses and the community, facilitates research to advance the profession and offers continued education through the AAOHN Academy.
HealthcareSource offers solutions for healthcare talent management. They create software that will help in areas such as behavioral assessments, competency, recruitment optimization and merit planning among others. They also have eLearning Courseware that features leadership development programs. http://www.healthcaresource.com
CampusRN is a respected Nursing Career resource for news about the nursing and healthcare industry. Upon creating a profile, you get access to numerous job postings. It also has information about nursing scholarships, and nursing college rankings.
DoctorDirectory.com is one of the best resources for healthcare professionals. It offers a customized listing making it easier for patients to find you. It conducts market research and surveys in which you can take part in and get paid for it. https://www.doctordirectory.com/
Delaware Board of Nursing
The Delaware Board of Nursing is tasked with the safety, health and welfare of the public. To achieve this, it implements rules and regulations for the practice of nursing, sets standards for competency and addresses complaints against professionals taking disciplinary measures where necessary. It also issues licenses to practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice nurses (APNs). http://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/nursing/index.shtml
ExploreHealthCareers.org was formed by health career advisors, healthcare professional associations, college students, educational institutions and national foundations. Its mission is to highlight issues in healthcare and inform students about health-related education and training programs as well as financial resources. http://explorehealthcareers.org
Hire Medical is a portal that features everything from news to jobs in the nursing industry. By joining, you get the opportunity to network with your peers, get involved in discussions, search for jobs, make use of career tools provided and even research employers. http://www.hirenursing.com
Medical Staffing Network
Medical Staffing Network is a reputable healthcare staffing company, with locations across the country. It presents nurses and other healthcare professionals, opportunities to work at established healthcare facilities in the country. http://www.medcareers.com/
The National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) works towards the professional development of soon to be registered nurses. It provides members with career advice and guidance, educational tools such as webinars and books, and opportunities at leadership, to prepare for their entrance into the nursing profession.
NursingNet.org is a website that features information about nursing schools. They can help you choose the right colleges that’ll help you meet your personal and professional goals. They also have resources that are worth exploring such as nursing journals.
Sigma Theta Tau International
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International brings together thousands of nurses from across the globe. It sponsors education and research conferences, congresses and conventions that offer scientific, leadership and clinical insights into nursing. http://www.nursingsociety.org
Nursing Job Source
Nursing Job Source is a leading job board used by majority of nurses to find work. You can search for jobs by state or by area of specialty. You can also read their analysis of nursing schools if you are looking to join one. http://www.nursingjobsource.com/
The Riley Guide
The Riley Guide is a premier source of information on careers, jobs and education. It’s been cited by hundreds of professionals and educational institutions as a reliable guide, and used by thousands to find fulfilling jobs. http://www.rileyguide.com
Virtualnurse.com is one of the portals that feature online nursing schools in every state. The information will benefit everyone looking for LPN, RN, BSN and MSN education. It highlights nursing loans, clinical experiences, the NCLEX-RN and NCLEX-PN exams and more topics. http://www.virtualnurse.com/
North Carolina Association of Nursing Students
North Carolina Association of Nursing Students (NCANS) is an affiliate of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA). NCANS plays a big part in nursing education, so as to promote the best quality health care. It helps with the transition of its members, from nursing students into licensed professionals. http://ncans.org
The National Federation of Licensed Professional Nurses (NFLPN)
The National Federation of Licensed Professional Nurses (NFLPN) represents vocational / practical nursing students and licensed practical nurses in the US. The organization pushes for lifelong learning and high nursing care standards to ensure competence in nurses and protection of the public. http://www.nflpn.org
National League for Nursing
The National League for Nursing is a professional organization for nursing education faculty and leaders. Its members are leaders in institutions, healthcare agencies and organizations. They enjoy networking opportunities and support for professional development. http://www.nln.org
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) establishes standards for baccalaureate and graduate education in nursing. It helps schools implement these standards and also pushes for quality healthcare from nursing professionals. It pushes for public support towards nursing practice, research and education. www.aacn.nche.edu
Nurse.com is the premier source of news, jobs and other information that is relevant to nurses or is industry-related. It provides continued learning opportunities such as the 650-plus CE courses. The courses are available in form of texts, webinars and live seminars. http://www.nurse.com
Nursing Explorer is a website where nursing students and professional nurses can find information about careers and education. They cover all nursing programs from LPN to graduate studies. You can compare hundreds of schools and find out about scholarships too. http://www.nursingexplorer.com
ChooseNursing.com is a must visit if you are looking for information about nursing. The page explores career options in nursing, how to choose the right school and paying for college. You can read on about real stories to find out what people’s experiences are. http://www.choosenursing.com
Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow
Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow (NHT) was formed with the aim of creating public awareness about the nursing shortage, and to encourage people to join the nursing practice. By visiting the website, you can read all about nursing careers and opportunities for those who already are in the practice. http://www.nursesource.org
EveryNurse.org is one of the resourceful sites that you should visit should you be looking to join the nursing profession. It has information on the many career paths you can take as nurse, interviews with experts in the practice and organization profiles. http://everynurse.org/
Career Profiles is a guide for nursing students and aspiring professionals to finding useful information with regards to nursing. You can read about nursing employers, employment information and statistics, careers and education requirements, salary and wages, accreditation and specialties. http://www.careerprofiles.info/nursing-careers.html
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
NCSBN develops licensure and certification exams that match the current nursing practice. Visit their website to read about NCLEX and other examinations; application, contact details, registration, testing locations and tips for the exam day. https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm
Occupational Outlook Handbook
The Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the best places to visit if you are online and looking for accurate information on occupations. You can read about employment projections for nurses, median pay and education requirements. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Allnurses.com creates an avenue for registered nurses to share, discuss and network. Here, people get to discuss nursing schools, degree programs, their jobs, NCLEX and their experiences as practicing nurses. http://allnurses.com
National Institutes of Health
National Institutes of Health is a rich source of information on medical research and the healthcare industry. You can search for all job openings possible and other important information regarding nursing through their portal. https://www.nih.gov/
Mission Health is the sixth largest health system in North Carolina. It provides employment opportunities to nurses, giving them the opportunity to work alongside leaders in the healthcare industry. It has consistently been recognized among the top 15 health systems in the country by Truven Health Analytics. http://www.mission-health.org
Oya’s Directory of Recruiters
Oya’s Directory of Recruiters is industry specific recruiters who’ll help you find exactly what you are looking for. The site features professional recruiters that will help you explore your career options. http://www.i-recruit.com
Hot Nurse Jobs
Hot Nurse Jobs is a leading recruiter of registered nurses, nurse educators, nurse practitioners, LPNs and more. You can join today or simply visit their website to find out about recent job postings and what employers are really looking for in potential candidates. http://www.hotnursejobs.com
NurseRecruiter.com is one of the directories you can use to locate jobs and employers. It features information on registered nurse and travel nurse jobs. They have the Rapid Apply Form which is submitted to potential employers and nursing agencies immediately you’ve filled it. http://www.nurserecruiter.com/
HealthcareRecruitment.com is a trusted resource for job seekers seeking opportunities in the healthcare industry. By creating a profile and posting your resume, you instantly gain access to listings top healthcare providers and hospitals in the country.
Similar Career with Registered Nurses Compared
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers and Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians, Including Vascular Technologists
EMTs and Paramedics
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses
Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners