A nurse is a healthcare professional who plays an essential role in today’s healthcare industry. Nurses are responsible for delivering hands-on patient care for sick and injured patients and can work in a variety of healthcare settings. From hospitals to assisted living facilities, home care companies, and private doctor’s offices— nurses and RNs are needed in many healthcare situations. Plus, due to their long list of on-the-job responsibilities, there is a growing need for nurses in our medical community today.
Nurse Job Description
Nurses provide a wide range of patient services as vital members of the healthcare team. The scope of practice can be quite broad, and it often depends on the setting. Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a nurse include:
- Monitor patient vitals and record them appropriately
- Providing patients with preventative and primary care
- Educating patients on disease prevention
- Operating medical equipment as necessary
- Administering medications
- Review and maintain medical records
- Prepare rooms and medical equipment for physicians
- Provide emotional and physical support
- Implement physicians’ orders, perform treatments, or start IVs
- Run basic medical tests
- Conduct physical examinations under the physician’s order
- Help maintain a safe and hygienic work environment
One of the most exciting things about being a registered nurse is that these trained medical professionals can work in a variety of settings. In addition to working in primary care offices, here are some of the types of specialty nurse positions available for qualified individuals.
Emergency Room Nurses
Emergency Room (ER) nurses work in hospital settings and care for patients with illnesses, trauma, and other life-threatening conditions. They are trained to provide immediate, emergency care along with other physicians and nurses on their team. These nurses may need to help perform medical operations, provide bedside care, or clean and bandage wounds.
Intensive Care Unit Nurses
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses are registered nurses responsible for taking care of injured or seriously ill patients. This may include patients who have suffered a stroke, are on life support, or have just undergone invasive surgery. They work in hospital settings and are responsible for attending to medical emergencies.
Medical-Surgical Nurses or “Med-Surg” have several responsibilities and typically work in hospitals, plastic surgeon’s offices, or other outpatient surgery centers. These nurses are required to keep an eye on wounds, monitor vital signs, and change dressings as needed.
Pediatric nurses work primarily in pediatrician’s offices and provide medical care for patients from birth through adolescence. They help take vitals and address common health concerns for children and work with parents to make sure pediatric patients are getting the care that they need.
According to Nursing Process, in 2022, the average starting salary for a registered nurse is about $59,450 per year. There are a number of factors that can influence this number, including certifications, the type of services provided, and the type of nursing program completed.
The job outlook for this career is great, particularly as the US population grows. There are many hospitals and care facilities around the country that are hiring RNs and nurses for their staff and shortages among nurses only boost the need for these well-trained individuals.
Almost every long-term medical or care facility in the country needsnurses. Here are a few of the many places that are hiring nurses for their care teams.
- The Mayo Clinic is hiring registered nurses as part of its multi-hospital float pool.
- DAVITA Kidney Care in Milwaukee, WI is hiring registered nurses to fill out their team.
- City of Hope in southern California is often hiring for nursing jobs in a variety of roles.
Plus, nurses interested in temporary travel opportunities can apply to be travel nurses and help out as needed in hospitals around the country for short stints that offer higher-paying opportunities.
Training and Requirements
A registered nurse has to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition to these degree requirements, aspiring RNs need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and meet all the requirements by their individual state’s licensing board. The NCLEX-RN is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCBSN).
One of the most important things for an RN to have is clinical experience. Most nursing students will get hands-on experience during school and in their rotational assignments, but additional training may be required depending on where the RN is planning on working, or if they want to specialize in certain areas of care.
Most medical facilities are looking for nurses with technical nursing skills as well, and nurses may be required to have additional certifications such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Additional courses like this can help any registered nurse be more prepared for the day-to-day requirements of their job.