Becoming an RN

By Jazmyne Skinner

What is an RN and What education do you need

Registered nurses (RNs) are healthcare professionals who care for patients and educate them about their health conditions. Becoming an RN requires the completion of a postsecondary program, usually an associate or bachelor's degree, although a few hospitals have teaching programs that offer diplomas. Aspiring nurses learn about topics such as anatomy and human development and gain extensive supervised clinical experience. Nurses also must be licensed in their states, which requires passing an exam.

Salary

  1. The BLS reports the median salary for a registered nurse was $66,220 in 2013. The best-paid 10 percent of RNs made more than $96,320, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $45,630.

Daily routine

RNs can be found in all arenas of health care.

On the job, registered nurses perform a variety of functions:

  • Evaluate and record patient symptoms
  • Help doctors during exams and surgeries
  • Dress wounds and incisions
  • Teach patients about self-care and healthy habits
  • Lab work
  • Review patient treatment plans and measure progress
  • Act as supervisor to some nurses

The exact duties an RN performs relies heavily on where they work. For example, RNs in hospitals are more likely to be in fast-paced situations with irregular hours whereas an RN in a doctor's office is more apt to work a typical 40-hour week and work closely with regular patients.