Registered Nurse Career Profile

Registered Nurses (RNs) work with a wide variety of patients, from pediatric to geriatric. They might specialize in fields such as intensive care, cardiac care, or dermatology to name a few. Most of the nation’s 2.7 million nurses work in medical and surgical hospitals, but many practice in physicians’ offices, home health care, or long-term care settings. Daily tasks include administering medication and treatments, performing tests, treating medical emergencies, creating treatment plans, counseling and observing patients, supervising licensed practical nurses and consulting with physicians.

RNs might work under a physician’s supervision but many work independently. Accordingly, RNs exercise considerable independent judgment, including advocating for patients in all facets of their care.

The ideal nurse is an excellent listener and oral communicator. They are emotionally stable, empathetic, adaptable and team players. The daily rigors of the job require physical stamina.

Roughly 20 percent of nurses work part-time. In medical and surgical hospitals, nurses are scheduled on any of three shifts. In most other settings, they work normal business hours. The majority of RNs are eligible for overtime, but those with supervisory responsibilities are typically salaried. Benefits include health benefits, paid vacation and sick/personal time, pension, or 401K eligibility and educational reimbursement.

What does it feel like to be a registered nurse?

It is invigorating, fulfilling, stressful, exhausting, frustrating and enlightening, often in the same moment. The gratitude and respect of patients and their families will fuel your day. The intellectual challenges of patient care and the health care system will stretch your mind. The collegial relationships with other health professionals will buoy you in tough moments. You’ll find dignity in the simplest tasks such as bathing a patient. For many, nursing defines who they are. Registered Nurse is ranked No. 9 of the 100 Best Jobs by US News and World Report.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nursing is a very fast-growing profession with an anticipated increase of 439,900 jobs between 2014 and 2024. In addition, approximately one million nurses are expected to retire in the same period. The resulting shortage of nurses promises full employment and increasing salaries for registered nurses far into the future.

To enter the profession, one must graduate with an Associate’s Degree (ADN) or Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN) in nursing and then pass the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses.

What is the career path for RN’s?

ADNs can “bridge” to BSN positions in pursuit of increased clinical and supervisory responsibilities. BSNs can pursue Master’s Degrees for a myriad of specializations or become a Nurse Practitioner who can practice without the direct supervision of a physician. Many RNs take on educational positions. Others assume health management positions in the insurance industry. The pharmacy industry hires RNs for everything from research to marketing and sales roles.

Are you a practicing Respiratory Therapist with an Associate's degree, which is a pre-requisite for this program?