What Are the Job Duties of a Registered Nurse?

If you want to assist doctors and other medical specialists in helping patients, you may want to consider becoming a registered nurse. You can read on below to learn some important information about the career along with what job duties you'll be expected to complete. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed nursing professional. As a registered nurse, you'll work directly with patients, their families, and physicians to provide medical treatment. This could be assisting in a procedure, issuing medication, or making the patient comfortable. You can work in a number of settings, including nursing care facilities, hospitals, community centers, or other healthcare sites. Your employer might require you to be on call, meaning you have to be able to come into work immediately when contacted.

Important Facts About Registered Nurses

Professional Certification Voluntary, but available in specialized fields such as ambulatory care and pediatrics
Continuing Education Required to maintain state licensure
Key Skills Situational awareness, critical thinking, problem solving, clear communication, reading comprehension, customer focused, time management
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, EMTs, paramedics

Job Duties

Your job duties as a RN can be dependent upon what your specialization is. For example, if you're a cardiology nurse then you'll specialize in working with patients suffering from heart conditions. If you're in pediatric work, then you'll need to take care of infants and children. As a geriatric nurse, you'll have to focus on the elderly. There are many types of nursing specializations.

There are common work duties that you'll have to perform no matter your specialization. Medication administration is a common duty, along with hooking up intravenous fluid lines. You'll regularly check patients to make sure they're comfortable and well taken care of. If any issues arise, you'll handle them yourself, if possible. If an emergency or a task beyond your skill comes up, you'll contact the appropriate physician.

When you're not working with patients, you have administrative duties to complete. You have to fill out reports and adjust patient records. In some cases, you'll have to work with newer nurses and help educate them as they adjust to the workplace.

Education and Training Requirements

There are several educational paths for you to choose from to become a registered nurse. You could complete a bachelor's degree in nursing, an associate's degree in nursing, or a diploma in nursing from an accredited program. The length of your education can span from two to four years. As a registered nurse, you're often expected to acquire your bachelor's degree at a later date if you don't enter into the field with one.

To work as an RN, you must be licensed by the state in which you work. The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is the exam most states use for licensure. The eligibility requirements vary by state.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) projected a 19% employment growth for registered nurses from 2012-2022. This growth is faster than average when compared to other vocations. The industry you're employed in can impact your job opportunities. For example, home health care services and outpatient medical facilities were projected to have more employment growth in comparison to other industries.

In May 2014, the BLS noted that registered nurses earned a median salary of $66,640. Registered nurses who were in the lowest ten percent made $45,880 or less a year. However, those in the top ten percent of wage estimates made an annual income of $98,880 or greater.

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