The registered nurse (RN) occupation is very diverse and is utilized in many different healthcare settings. As a result, they have a wide variety of duties. The goal of successful registered nurse programs is to help students develop the skills they will need to be successful on the job. RNs are expected to complete a degree in nursing and become licensed before they can work. The future job outlook for nurses is very good and registered nurses earn a very competitive salary.
Registered Nurse Programs prepare you for a well paid career in the nursing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average registered nurse salary is $65,470 per year, or about $31 per hour.
The registered nurse salary may vary based on the work environment. Some work environments are more demanding and require more highly trained and specialized staff. Here is the U.S. median salary for RNs based on work environment.
- Government ($68,540)
- Hospitals; state, local, and private ($67,210)
- Home health care services ($62,090)
- Nursing care facilities ($58,830)
- Offices of physicians ($58,420)
Registered nurse salary may also be influenced by geographic location. The demand for health care and cost of living in a specific area could affect salary. In general, education and experience can affect salary levels as well. We have provided RN salary by state to give you a better idea of income levels in your area.
There is currently a nursing industry shortage in the U.S., making nursing jobs more attainable than ever. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the registered nurse occupation will grow by 19% between 2010 and 2020, a growth rate much faster than other occupations. Given the increased need for more nursing professionals in the near future, registered nurse programs are recruiting students for these well paid jobs. This growth is expected to create over 500,000 new registered nurse jobs. Not many career options are available with such a promising outlook. Only an accredited registered nurse program can give you the skills you need to qualify for this career path.
Registered Nurse Duties
The main role of a registered nurse is to deliver and coordinate patient care, provide advice and support to patients, and educate patients about health conditions. Some registered nurses act as supervising nurses. They supervise low- and mid-range nursing staff, such as licensed vocational nurses and certified nursing assistants. RNs work very closely with other professional medical staff to advise or administer patient treatment. Programs for registered nurses will help students develop the qualities they need to manage this type of workload. Some other common registered nursing duties include:
- Document patient symptoms and medical history
- Operate and monitor medical equipment
- Instruct patients how to manage their illness or injury and administer treatment
- Collaborate with physicians and other health professionals
- Administer patients’ medication
Entry level registered nurse positions can be obtained with only an Associate’s degree. However, many registered nurse programs recommend students complete a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) to become fully acquainted with all the aspects of the nursing profession. Advanced training programs also exist. Some registered nurses continue their education to become specialists in a specific field, such as genetics nurses, gerontology nurses, or cardiovascular nurses.
Online Registered Nurse Programs
Learning in a campus setting is not ideal for everyone. Many students are choosing to get an education on the internet. Training programs delivered by RN schools online have the advantage of allowing students to study at their own pace and manage their schedules more effectively. Online training is generally more affordable and cuts down on other costs like travel and school materials. Online RN programs are also good for students who live in an area where campus-based RN programs are not available.
Registered Nurse Work Environment
According to the BLS most registered nurses work in private, local, or state hospitals (61%) . Other common work environments include nursing facilities, residential care facilities, doctor’s offices, and government positions. Some registered nurses also provide direct patient care in the patient’s home.
Nurses work with patients every day. Their job is to manage injury and illness as their occupation. Because of this, there are certain qualities that help a registered nurse become more successful on the job. High quality registered nurse programs will help students learn many of these qualities. It is helpful to keep them in mind as you go through training. Without many of these qualities, being successful as a nurse may be difficult.
Understanding and Patience. Many times nurses have to deal with patients that are in pain or discomfort. This causes them to become disruptive or uncooperative. Being able to empathize and have patience can go along way.
Attention to Detail. Registered nurses are often asked to record and maintain information about their patients. When the patient list grows, maintaining this documentation can get difficult. A detail oriented person will have a much easier time managing and organizing their workload.
Emotional Strength. Nurses are around ill and injured people all day, every day. If you easily become emotional because of the circumstances of your patients, it may be difficult for you to be an effective nurse. This is why many registered nurse programs have hands-on experience as a part of the curriculum.
Stamina. Registered nurses often work long shifts with irregular hours. They spend most of the time on their feet. It’s important that you have the physical stamina to keep going. Getting tired on the job can result in mistakes that could affect the health of your patients.
Critical Thinking. Sometimes circumstances arise when decisions need to be made in the moment. This is especially true for registered nurses that work in the the emergency room or operating room. Many registered nurse programs help students develop their critical thinking skills. This helps them develop the ability to think quickly when required.
Verbal Skills. Nurses are communicating with many different people during the day. They talk with patients, as well as other medical staff. Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is important when you are collaborating with others all day long.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
One quickly growing career path for registered nurses is the nurse anesthetist. CNRAs operate as a general RN but also are responsible for caring for patients that need anesthesia. Not only does the CRNA receive specialized training to administer anesthesia, but they monitor and care for the patient before, during, and after receiving anesthesia. Find CRNA programs and learn more about this career path.