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Registered Nurses Career

Career Description

Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required.

What Job Titles Registered Nurses Might Have

  • Charge Nurse
  • Director of Nursing (DON)
  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Staff Nurse

What Registered Nurses Do

  • Maintain accurate, detailed reports and records.
  • Administer medications to patients and monitor patients for reactions or side effects.
  • Record patients' medical information and vital signs.
  • Monitor, record, and report symptoms or changes in patients' conditions.
  • Consult and coordinate with healthcare team members to assess, plan, implement, or evaluate patient care plans.
  • Modify patient treatment plans as indicated by patients' responses and conditions.
  • Monitor all aspects of patient care, including diet and physical activity.
  • Direct or supervise less-skilled nursing or healthcare personnel or supervise a particular unit.
  • Prepare patients for and assist with examinations or treatments.
  • Instruct individuals, families, or other groups on topics such as health education, disease prevention, or childbirth and develop health improvement programs.
  • Assess the needs of individuals, families, or communities, including assessment of individuals' home or work environments, to identify potential health or safety problems.
  • Prepare rooms, sterile instruments, equipment, or supplies and ensure that stock of supplies is maintained.
  • Refer students or patients to specialized health resources or community agencies furnishing assistance.
  • Consult with institutions or associations regarding issues or concerns relevant to the practice and profession of nursing.
  • Inform physician of patient's condition during anesthesia.
  • Administer local, inhalation, intravenous, or other anesthetics.
  • Provide health care, first aid, immunizations, or assistance in convalescence or rehabilitation in locations such as schools, hospitals, or industry.
  • Hand items to surgeons during operations.
  • Observe nurses and visit patients to ensure proper nursing care.
  • Conduct specified laboratory tests.
  • Direct or coordinate infection control programs, advising or consulting with specified personnel about necessary precautions.
  • Engage in research activities related to nursing.
  • Prescribe or recommend drugs, medical devices, or other forms of treatment, such as physical therapy, inhalation therapy, or related therapeutic procedures.
  • Order, interpret, and evaluate diagnostic tests to identify and assess patient's condition.
  • Perform physical examinations, make tentative diagnoses, and treat patients en route to hospitals or at disaster site triage centers.
  • Perform administrative or managerial functions, such as taking responsibility for a unit's staff, budget, planning, or long-range goals.
  • Provide or arrange for training or instruction of auxiliary personnel or students.
  • Work with individuals, groups, or families to plan or implement programs designed to improve the overall health of communities.

What Registered Nurses Should Be Good At

  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

What Registered Nurses Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

What Registered Nurses Need to Learn

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $68,450

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.