What Does a Registered Nurse (RN) Do? - Video
A Registered Nurse, or RN, works to treat and educate patients on a variety of medical conditions. RNs work closely with physicians and other health care professionals to provide preventative care and treatment to patients.
Registered Nurses are patient advocates working to care for the health and well-being of the sick and injured. RNs may choose to specialize in a specific work setting, health and body condition, or a particular patient population. It is also not uncommon for an RN to combine specialties. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse will directly care for children who have cancer.
The Registered Nurse occupation is the largest branch in health care. Most RN's join the occupation after earning an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree or a diploma from an accredited and approved nursing program.
A Registered Nurse may be the first person a patient comes in contact with during a doctor or hospital visit. These health care professionals record medical histories and symptoms to gather pertinent information. RNs also perform diagnostic tests, administer medication, and assist in rehabilitation or follow-up procedures and check-ups. It is an RN's responsibility to consult with physicians and other health care professionals about the progress and situations involving each patient. RNs must also confer with patients and families of patients, explaining treatment plans or follow-up care procedures. Depending on the state in which they practice and their certification levels, some RNs may also be charged with starting or discontinuing IVs of fluid and prescribing medication to patients.
Over half of the RNs in the U.S. work in hospitals. These health care professionals may also work in nursing homes, schools, community centers, clinics or other health care facilities. They work with physicians, patients and sometimes families. Registered Nurses are on their feet for much of the day, walking, standing and bending. They may work regular business hours or on evenings and weekends depending on the facility.