What Does It Take ?

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered Nurse (RN)

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.

What Are The Benefits?

Our annual wage will be from about $44,000 at the lowest and $97,000 at the highest. Nurses are also eligible for retirement packages, such as 401k or 403b. Nurses can determine how much money to deduct from each paycheck that will be deposited into retirement funds. Depending upon the employer, some organizations match the contribution. For example, a hospital may contribute 50 cents for each dollar a registered nurse reserves for retirement. Full-time registered nurses are eligible for comprehensive medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance. Malpractice insurance may also be provided. Many employers provide life insurance and long-term care insurance programs as well. Insurance plans and costs vary by employer.

Required Education

At a minimum, an entry-level nursing job requires a bachelor of science degree in nursing, an associate’s degree, or a diploma program administered in a hospital. The two-year associate’s degree can be a quicker and more economical route, but many graduates of associate’s programs eventually aim to complete a bachelor’s degree for a more comprehensive nursing education, and experts say that the bachelor’s degree is fast becoming the industry standard. For those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in a different field, accelerated B.S.N. degree programs can take from 12 to 18 months. Students must also pass a national licensing examination known as the National Council Licensure Examination, and may have to meet other requirements which vary by state. Basically, registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor's degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program.

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How Do We Work?

Hospitals, health clinics, rehabilitation centers and elderly care homes are some of the places that employ registered nurses. Many RNs also travel to patients' homes to provide special in-home care. Most facilities where RNs work are comfortable, well lit and clean. Nearly all big hospitals provide 24-hour security, and there are always plenty of resources to take care of nurses in the case of an emergency. Health care facilities generally are busy places, with doctors, patients and other nurses moving about constantly. Employees are expected to be alert and attentive at all times during their shift.


Most registered nurses work 40 hours a week, typically in eight-hour or 12-hour shifts. Nurses generally alternate with others on their team for night and weekend shifts, though newer nurses often are asked to work the overnight shifts. Some nurses work part time or split their time between administrative duties and patient care. Nurses often have to be on-call 24 hours a day in the case of emergencies.


Nursing uniforms are important for a variety of reasons that are specific to health care. As more hospital employees have moved to wearing scrubs on the job, it has become difficult for a patient to identify who is or is not a nurse. Issues that affect what nurses wear are safety of both patient and nurse and the prevention of infection. Rings and bracelets, for example, may injure a patient’s skin, while a necklace worn by a nurse can be grabbed by a confused patient. Long fingernails and artificial nails have been implicated as harboring bacteria and increasing the risk of infection for both nurse and patient, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Whats The Good?

Along with the bad, there is some good. Nurses are in demand, and there are abundant job opportunities, good salaries, and decent benefits to prove it. Nursing also allows for flexible scheduling, interesting specialties, and a variety of job settings, topped off with plenty of room for advancement. But the biggest advantage to being a nurse is the satisfaction that comes from knowing you make a difference in people's lives.

Whats The Bad?

One of the disadvantages of the nursing profession is the physical demand that is placed on the nurse. Lifting is often a requirement of the job, and nurses may have to lift and transfer patients, as well as boxes and equipment, as a normal course of work. Nurses also work on their feet for many hours at a time, placing strain on their backs and causing sore feet. Nurses also have to work on charts, either written or at a computer, causing physical strain to necks and backs in this way as well. Though there are advantages to a career in the nursing profession, there are disadvantages that must be considered as well.

Can We Do Better?

People are wondering can Registered Nurses be promoted to a more advanced level and the answer is YES! Registered nursing is a career with great potential for anyone who is capable, ambitious and hard-working. It's possible to enter the profession with as little as a two-year associate degree, and once licensed, an RN can follow many pathways to advancement and promotion. Registered nurses who show the appropriate levels of drive and ability can exercise substantial levels of responsibility -- and earn excellent salaries