Spotlight on: Registered nursing
If you are considering a career in healthcare but the prospect of being in school for nearly 10 years seems terrifying, becoming a registered nurse may be the right career path for you. RNs are vitally important for ensuring that patients in hospitals and doctors’ offices get the quality care they need. Without RNs, the healthcare system doesn’t work. If you think this exciting career may be the right fit for you, here are your FAQs, answered.
What do RNs do?
In general, registered nurses are responsible for coordinating and providing patient care, although they also educate their patients and the public about various health conditions and provide emotional support for patients and their families when needed. RNs are on the front lines of patient care, and do everything from administering medicines and treatments to managing medical records and working with doctors to deliver quality care to patients. Most RNs work as part of a team of healthcare professionals.
What training do I need?
To become an RN, you will need either an associates or bachelor’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. In addition, all registered nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination and should have completed some form of supervised clinical experience. Individual states may have additional requirements. After earning an associates degree and beginning an entry-level job, many RNs are able to use tuition reimbursement benefits to pursue bachelor’s or masters degrees in nursing.
What is the work environment like?
Registered nurses are generally employed in physicians’ offices, hospitals or nursing care facilities. However, they also work in correctional facilities, summer camps, schools and the military. The RN’s work environment will vary depending on where he or she is employed. Because patients need round-the-clock care, RNs may be required to work long hours or in shifts to ensure that patients are looked after 24 hours a day.
How is the employment outlook?
Due to the aging American population and the expansion of healthcare access through the Affordable Care Act, registered nursing is a rapidly growing profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RN employment is expected to grow by 26 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than average. The median pay for RNs is $64,690 per year, or $31.10 an hour.