What You Need to Know About Being a Registered Nurse

Before you can become a registered nurse or RN, you must undergo standardized training and develop a wide-ranging array of vital skills, such as properly administering medications, performing physical examinations, and cultivating a compassionate and welcoming bedside manner. In addition to meeting educational requirements, you must also train in a hospital and work with medical staff to gain the complete knowledge necessary to work in either a medical or non-medical facility.

What Does a Registered Nurse Do?

The function of a registered nurse is to provide prompt treatment and follow-up care to patients. Registered nurses must also promote the health of their patients, prevent most diseases and help restore patients back to health. Common duties include observing and recording patient medical history, signs and symptoms in patient charts, establishing an individualized plan of care for patients or monitoring and supporting an existing one, delegating tasks to licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants, and providing a caring bedside manner, especially during times of severe or life-threatening illness.

Registered Nurse Program

The first step on the road to becoming an RN is to complete a nursing education program. Nursing programs are available at universities and colleges, vocational schools and online; it is advisable to conduct thorough research before registering for any online degree program.  Requirements vary across nursing programs, but generally, to gain acceptance into a nursing program, an application must have completed high school or earned a GED. Additional requirements may include meeting a minimum grade point average.

Taking the NCLEX

Once you’ve completed your nursing program, register to complete your state’s comprehensive nursing test. If you wish to work as a registered nurse, you must prepare and pass the NCLEX exam, which you can take at a testing center in your area. Additional training and education is necessary to maintain your license. Generally, it takes just four years to complete a nursing program and obtain a nursing degree.

Where You Can Get Hired

While registered nurses can work in a variety of health care facilities, common work locations include hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, public health agencies, government organizations, business offices, and schools. Registered nurses may also work in academic environments, such as nursing schools and in colleges and universities, teaching courses related to nursing and the healthcare industry.

How Much You Can Earn

Due to the high demand of the field of nursing, and the rigorous training program required to obtain a nursing license, registered nurses enjoys excellent pay. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average registered nurse earns around $63,750 per year. However, factors such as location, seniority, job experience, and academic background can cause substantial pay increases and other bonuses for a registered nurse.

Work for registered nurses is also available in nursing homes and in private hospitals. However, pay for such jobs are typically lower than jobs in medical institutions. Whether you obtain work in a medical-related field or not, registered nurses enjoy flexibility, job security, and a high degree of opportunity for professional growth. The job of a registered nurse is not without stress, and can quite be hectic at times, but it is rewarding nonetheless.