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How to Become a Registered Nurse

Registered nurses care for the sick and injured in a variety of settings. The majority of RNs work in a hospital setting. Other RNs are employed in physician's offices, medical laboratories, clinics, home health services, and the insurance industry. Registered nurses are involved in community nursing with the goal of providing individualized care to patients. The RN is able to give patients a level of individualized health care that a physician doesn't have the time to provide. They also assist physicians by implementing treatment strategies, completing charts, monitoring patients and medical equipment, and handling the emotional facets of patient and visitor care. Most nurses spend a great deal of time on their feet and occasionally work shifts that can last as long as twelve hours.

Nursing Careers

After completing your education and earning a nursing degree, you can specialize in a number of different nursing fields.
  • Surgical nursing. Surgical nursing involves assisting physicians in the operating room and post-operatively.
  • Pediatric nursing. Pediatric nursing focuses on the medical care of children.
  • Elderly nursing. Elderly nursing takes place on the geriatric wing of hospitals and in nursing homes.
  • Mental health nursing. Mental health nursing is a nursing science directed towards mentally ill patients both on-site and on an out-patient basis.
RNs provide services that include everything from diagnostic work to dispensing drugs. Nursing outcomes and nursing management have a significant impact on patients' lives and well-being.

Professional Nursing: Career Outlook

The educational prerequisites for becoming a registered nurse are the completion of a college degree in nursing and passing the national certification test required for licensure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs can expect to make from $40,000 to $85,000 a year depending on their responsibilities. Nurses make up the largest occupational group in health services and the job prospects are continuing to grow. About twenty percent of RNs work part-time.