Registered Nurse

Consumer Ed Period 3

Job Description

Registered Nursing evaluates patients health problems, needs and maintains patients health records.
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  • Record patients' medical histories and symptoms
  • Give patients medicines and treatments
  • Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute to existing plans
  • Observe patients and record the observations
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results
  • Teach patients and their families how to manage their illnesses or injuries
  • Explain what to do at home after treatments


  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Compassion
  • Detail oriented
  • Emotional stability
  • organizational skills
  • Patience
  • Speaking skills


All programs also include supervised clinical experience in hospital departments such as pediatrics, psychiatry, maternity, and surgery. A number of programs include clinical experience in extended and long-term care facilities, public health departments, home health agencies, or ambulatory (walk-in) clinics.

  • Some registered nurses work in hospital operating rooms. (Picture on Right)

Work Hours

Because patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities need round-the-clock care, nurses in these settings usually work in rotating shifts, covering all 24 hours. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be on call.

Nurses who work in offices, schools, and other places that do not provide 24-hour care are more likely to work regular business hours.

In 2010, about 20 percent of registered nurses worked part time.


  • The median annual wage of registered nurses was $64,690 in May 2010.
  • The median wage is the wage at which half of the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,190 and the top 10 percent earned more than $95,130.

Job Outlook

Registered Nurses

Percent change in employment, projected 2010-20

  • Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners


  • Registered Nurses


  • Total, All Occupations


Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur primarily because of technological advancements, permitting a greater number of health problems to be treated; an increased emphasis on preventive care; and the large, aging baby boomer population who will demand more healthcare services as they live longer and more active lives than previous generations.

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