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Do You Want to Become a Registered Nurse?

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Today nurses are referred to as 'the patient care managers' and they form the largest group of workers in the health care sector. A registered nurse is responsible for implementing the nursing process and work as patient advocates who take care of the sick or injured and try to provide them best care till recovery. Registered Nurses are different from licensed practical nurses in their education, clinical trainings and scope of practice. To practice as a registered nurse, the nurse must have a valid registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council or any other council authorized to register a nurse and allowing lawful practice.

About 59% of Registered Nurses are employed in hospitals. Whereas other industries which offer vacancies for Registered Nurses are physician's office, nursing care facilities, home health care services, outpatient care centers and some of them in government agencies and educational services.

Following are the responsibilities of a registered nurse:


  • Evaluating the problems and need of patients
  • Developing and implementing nursing care plans
  • Maintaining medical records of patients
  • Providing nursing care to ill, injured, or disabled patients
  • Providing advice to patients about healthcare
  • Taking care of the patients
  • Work for long hours with patience
  • Keep patients family updated about his daily progress
  • Coordinate with doctors and seniors about patient's progress and required treatment
  • Create caring plans and proper assessment reports of the patients
  • Make sure proper and timely consultation and medication is provided to the patient
  • Provide mental and emotional support to the patients
  • Skillfully use operation tools and machinery
  • Any other task assigned by the supervisor or senior doctors
To qualify as a registered nurse, you need any of the following:
  • A bachelor's degree, bachelor's of science degree in nursing BSN (four year program offered by universities and colleges)
  • An associate degree in nursing (ADN), (2 to 3 year program mostly offered by community and junior colleges) or
  • A diploma from an approved nursing program (3 years diploma mostly organized in hospitals)
  • An ADN or a diploma allows you to qualify as a Registered Nurse, therefore most of the nurses' complete ADN or diploma and while practicing nursing, they go for their BSN
After BSN, to further excel in your career as a registered nurse, you can go for MSN i.e. masters of science degree in nursing. Also, if your actual field is not nursing and you want to switch your field to nursing you can go for Accelerated BSN programs (which normally lasts for 12 to 18 months) which provides a fast route to BSN. The registered nurse can expect higher positions depending upon the level of education. For example, a MSN (Masters of Science Degree in Nursing) has more options and prospects as compared to BSN (Bachelor's of Science Degree in Nursing) degree holder.

Other than the mentioned educational qualifications a nurse should be sympathetic and caring, should hold a very positive and responsible attitude towards people and work. A nurse should be able to supervise others as well as follow the instructions of the heads. It is expected that the nurse should be proficient in the respective field and should possess qualities like good communication skills, emotional stability and critical thinking ability. She must have attended some training sessions on communication, leadership, and critical thinking. As this is a stressful job looking at people miseries all the time so she must be emotionally stable to handle and bear human suffering and emergencies.

There's a great demand for registered nurse jobs. In 2009 job surveys there were 856,234 jobs that remained unfilled due to lack of skilled registered nurses, this suggests that there is a great opportunity in nursing field.

The scope and advancement in the career of Registered Nurse job depends upon the selection of education path. Advancement opportunities for BSN or MSN degree holders are obviously greater than that of diploma holder; also there are certain careers which are only for BSN or MSN degree holder nurses like MSN Degree is mandatory for all of the advanced practice nursing specialties which include clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists etc.

The growth opportunities for a registered nurse are bright in settings like physicians' offices and outpatient care centers when compared to the hospitals. However, the level of competition for job at physician office etc is very high because of the regular working hours and less stressful situations.

Average earnings of registered nurses range around $47,710 and $69,850 per year. Registered nurses hired by physicians office offers average annual salary of $53,800, nurse care facilities offer $52,490, Home health care services offer $54,190 and General medical and surgical hospitals offer $58,550 annually.

Thus, we can say that there's a great scope and advancement for Registered Nurses and they can excel in their careers by improving their education, by gaining experience and attending as many trainings as possible.
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