Registered nursing is a fast-growing specialty within the broad field of healthcare that involves working closely with patients, doctors and other medical professionals. If you're interested in a career that requires a caring nature, a desire to help others, emotional stability and the ability to think quickly on your feet, you may be suited for a career in registered nursing. Read on to learn more.
If you decide to pursue a registered nursing career, you'll enter a very hands-on field. You'll work with patients on a regular basis, explaining how to manage their medical conditions, administering medications and running diagnostic tests. You can also assist doctors in the office and the operating room. As a registered nurse (RN), you may also participate in a number of community programs, including blood drives, immunization clinics and other events that teach the public about health, fitness and disease prevention. RNs can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics and residential facilities. You'll be required to take continuing education courses and learn new techniques throughout your career.
If you're interested in becoming a registered nurse, now is an excellent time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of registered nurses was expected to grow by 22% over the 2008-2018 decade, which is faster than the national average for all jobs (www.bls.gov). The growth of the elderly population was expected to fuel the need for more nursing professionals. Technological advances in healthcare, which will allow for many additional medical problems to be treated, were also anticipated to increase the need for registered nurses. As of May 2010, the mean salary for registered nurses was $67,720, per the BLS.
If you aspire to become a registered nurse, you'll need to earn a nursing diploma, an associate's degree in nursing or a bachelor's degree in nursing. You'll take courses in subjects such as anatomy and physiology, health and wellness, chemistry and psychology. You'll learn to care for children, the elderly and patients with complex healthcare needs. In addition, it's likely that you'll study pharmacology, case management and public health nursing.
All registered nursing programs include a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training in medical settings. Upon graduating from an approved RN program, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, which is commonly known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to earn your nursing license and be qualified to work. Other licensure requirements vary by state.
You can pursue higher degrees to advance in your nursing career. If you didn't earn a bachelor's degree, you can enroll in RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) or accelerated RN to MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) degree programs. Master's degree programs allow you to specialize in a specific area of nursing, such as advanced nursing practice, nursing education, nursing anesthetics or nursing administration.