There are many nursing specialties including critical care, addiction, oncology, neonatology, geriatrics or pediatrics. Some RNs combine two specialties. There are also registered nurses who provide primary or specialty care, including clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.
Registered nurses in hospitals and nursing care facilities work around the clock, usually on rotating shifts. Their schedules include weekends, evenings and holidays.
Nursing involves some risks including exposure to communicable diseases and dangerous drugs, and injuries related to lifting and moving patients. However, there are procedures that help mitigate these risks.
Registered nurses, like other professionals who deliver patient care, must be compassionate. Good organizational skills and being detail-oriented helps ensure that all procedures are properly followed, which keeps patients and workers safe. Strong critical thinking skills allow RNs to evaluate situations and take necessary actions. Emotional stability is required to deal with very difficult situations, as is patience. Finally, nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients and other health care workers.
Use the Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much a registered nurse currently earns in your city.
A Day in a Registered Nurse's Life:
On a typical day a registered nurse will:
- record patients' histories and symptoms on medical charts
- discuss patients with other professionals
- observe patients
- help set up treatment plans or implement existing plans
- administer medication
- change dressings
- discuss patients' care with families and other caregivers
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Registered-nurses.htm (visited February 7, 2013).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Registered Nurses, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/29-1141.00 (visited February 7, 2013).