Registered Nurse

Brooklynne Hill

Job Description

Registered nurses work in hospitals, clinics, private medical facilities, public health agencies, schools, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. They work to promote health, prevent disease, and help patients cope with illness. When they are providing direct patient care, they observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress.The majority of nurses work in hospitals providing bedside nursing and carrying out medical regimens.


  • Make about $45,630 to $96,320+ annually
  • Hospitals: $70,590
  • Physicians' offices: $62,850
  • In home health care services: $66,910
  • Nursing care facilities: $62,010


  • Work in facilities that are clean and well lighted and where the temperature is controlled
  • Some work in rundown inner-city hospitals in less-than-ideal conditions
  • Many work eight-hour shifts
  • In hospitals: 7:00 A.M. to 3:00P.M. ; 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. ; or 11:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M.
  • Some work 10- to 12-hour shifts
  • 20 percent work part time.
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In order to become a registered nurse you should take mathematics and science courses, including biology, chemistry, and physics. Health courses will also be helpful. English and speech courses should not be neglected because you must be able to communicate well with patients. Take computer science classes because nurses frequently use computers to "chart" patients and complete continuing education classes and seminars. They must continue to learn throughout their careers in order to keep their skills up to date and comply with licensing and certification and recertification requirements. Many nursing association provide continuing education (CE) opportunities in the form of Web-based educational courses, conferences, seminars, webinars, and workshops.


There are three basic kinds of training programs that you may choose from to become a registered nurse: associate's degree, diploma, and bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree in nursing is required for most supervisory or administrative positions, for jobs in public health agencies, and for admission to graduate nursing programs. A master's degree is usually necessary to prepare for a nursing specialty or to teach. For some specialties, such as nursing research, a Ph.D. is essential.

Future Outlook

The nursing field is the largest of all health care occupations, and employment prospects for nurses are good. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) projects that registered nurses will have the second-largest number of new jobs for all professions through 2022: nearly 527,000 new nursing jobs will be added to the field. Registered nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing will have the best job prospects.


Increasingly, administrative and supervisory positions in the nursing field go to nurses who have earned at least the bachelor of science degree in nursing. Nurses with many years of experience who are graduates of a diploma program may achieve supervisory positions, but requirements for such promotions have become more difficult in recent years and in many cases require at least the B.S.N. degree.