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Registered Nurse


There is a shortage of qualified nurses. The reasons are two-fold: a shortage of nursing teachers, which makes it more difficult to find a good nursing program. And, much of the current nursing workforce is beginning to reach retirement age. This creates a problem with the supply of nurses not measuring up the demand needed to fill the growing gaps.

If you’re even considering becoming a registered nurse, make no mistake, now is a great time. Whether you choose the associate degree route or the bachelor’s degree, there will be a job for you once you graduate.

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What An RN Does

RNs are a huge part of a medical team that is comprised of doctors, other nurses, and healthcare professionals. Where you work determines your duties. You’ll also be able to specialize in one of the many different aspects of the medical field such as neonatology, pediatrics, oncology, and other areas of the practice.

Your typical RN duties will look like this:

  • Assess your patient’s condition.
  • Record your patient’s symptoms and his or her medical history.
  • Make notes based on your patient observations.
  • Give your patients their treatments and/or medicine.
  • Set up or contribute to a patient care plan.
  • Work with the medical team.
  • Explain your patient’s condition to his or her family, how to manage it, along with how to best treat it at home.

The type of patients you work with will depend on the type of RN you are.

Types Of RN Specialties

Where you work, and what specialty field you’re in, will dictate your duties. Here are a few types of RN specialties you can consider:

  • Addiction Nurse: You will work with patients recovering from different types of addictions.
  • Genetics Nurse: Your patients will have genetic disorders that you’ll counsel and treat.
  • Rehab Nurse: You will be focused on patients that have temporary or permanent disabilities.
  • Public Health Nurse: You will travel around communities bringing awareness, and treatments, to the public. You may provide health screenings, vaccinations, run community outreach programs, and more.
  • Neonatology Nurse: You’ll take care of babies.
  • Critical Care Nurse: Your patients need constant monitoring due to health issues varying in degrees of severity.

An advanced degree will open up some of the following nursing opportunities:

  • Assistant Clinical Nurse Manager
  • Charge Nurse
  • Head Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Midwife Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

How To Become An RN

To become an RN, you can choose one of the three ways that make most sense to you. There are certificate nursing programs through hospitals, community colleges and trade schools offering associate degree programs, and bachelor’s degrees through a university’s nursing school program. No matter which program you choose, one thing is certain; you must get a license to practice nursing.

  • Choose which program you’re going to go through: a certificate program, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree.
  • Graduate from your approved program in order to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam.
  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN and receive your license.
  • Get licensed through your state.
  • Find a job.
  • Think about pursuing more education to climb the nursing ranks. It’s common for RNs to go back to school for their master’s or doctorate, which will open up more advanced positions in the business and administrative side of healthcare.

Salary And Job Outlook For RNs

When you first start out in your career, you’ll earn somewhere in the vicinity of $48,000. However, the median salary for RNs in the U.S. is $70,000, with the top ten percent of those in your profession earning over $108,000.

Through 2026, there will be over 438,000 new RN positions opening across the U.S. Competition will be fierce due to large amounts of students entering nursing programs and then pouring out into the job market. Having a bachelor’s degree will greatly increase your chances of being hired.