Nurses provide a variety of health care services to patients. Nursing is the biggest occupation within the healthcare field, and most nurses are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, doctor's offices, home health service companies, or the government. Registered nurses care for patients or coordinate their care. They also educate patients about how to take better care of themselves. The most common job duties of a registered nurse may include:
Greeting patients before a doctor's examination and helping to put them at ease.
Recording patients' symptoms and health complaints.
Handling patients' medical histories and updating them.
Setting up plans of treatment for a patient alongside a physician.
Updating existing treatment plans for a patient.
Observing patients during activities or tests.
Recording observations regarding a patient's behavior or health.
Collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals to best help a patient.
Providing support to physicians in carrying out tasks in patients' exams.
Assisting specialists with diagnostic testing.
Analyzing healthcare test results for patients.
Instructing patients on best practices to manage certain illnesses.
Providing emotional support to patients or their family members in the wake of bad news.
Candidates who enjoy working with people may love nursing. Nurses need to be capable of staying calm when faced with difficult people who are making demands in an environment where the stakes are high. It's a rewarding profession that's also challenging.
Nurse Job Education Requirements
Registered nurses must be licensed, and they usually have at least a nursing diploma from a state-approved program. Nurses who wish to be able to be competitive when it comes to the top positions in the field should pursue a bachelor's of science degree in nursing. An associate degree in nursing is another option for nurses who want to pursue higher education without spending four years in college before getting to work as a nurse. To become a licensed nurse, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for nurses, and some states have additional requirements. Those who are interested in this position may also enjoy traveling nurse jobs or nurse supervisor jobs.
Nurse Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are going to increase in number by approximately 19 percent from 2012 to 2022. That means that the demand for nursing jobs will continue to increase at a more rapid pace than the average for other jobs. There will be well over three million jobs available for nurses by 2022. The expanding need for healthcare workers will likely continue for some time to come because of the growing aging population and the increased ability of Americans to get health insurance.
Nurse Job Salary Information
The average annual salary for nurses was approximately $65,470 in 2012. The top professionals in nursing positions earned an approximate yearly salary of over $94,720. Registered nurses can generally earn more when they are employed by hospitals, the government, or home health care services.