Registered nurses (RN) dominate the health care centers. As a profession, being a registered nurse can be very demanding but at the same time very gratifying too.
Registered Nurse Job Requirements
Registered nurse work in teams to a major extent, but some do involve themselves in direct care of the patient. The responsibilities or the job of a RN involve managing and assigning tasks to the LPN‘s working with them, provide advise and support to the patient as well as the family members, set up plan of care for the patients and executing them. A separate RN is assigned to individual departments such as intensive care, emergency room, maternity, pediatrics, cancer treatments etc. Out patients are assigned separate nurses for needs such as surgical centers, emergency medical centers who take care of assisting the physicians with minor surgeries, dressing up injuries, examinations etc.
The state law governs the tasks of a registered nurse. Though it is the state law that governs, it is normally the work atmosphere that sets the job routine of a RN. A RN is expected to perform various activities like initiating, maintaining and discontinuing IV (intravenous) lines for fluid, blood and blood products, medications, updating the physicians regarding the patient’s condition etc.
The work atmosphere and assigned responsibilities of a RN varies according to the number of patient’s served and so the areas of their specialization also could vary. RN who specializes in a particular field like ‘diabetes management nurses’ aids patients to manage diabetes. Similarly, the registered nurse who specializes in organs and body system such as Dermatology nurses, work with patients having skin disorders. RN with ‘geriatric nurses’ specialization works with elderly patients. RN might even have multiple specializations. There are various other fields of specializations such as ‘Ambulatory care nurses, Critical care nurses, Emergency or trauma nurses, Medical-surgical nurses, Occupational health nurses, Perianesthesia nurses, transport nurses, Holistic nurses’ and so on who take care of the respective field’s patient care.
The registered nurses are available 24×7 in all the hospitals and clinics so they work in shifts. The nature of job involves high risks of being in close contact with patient’s having infectious disease, handling needles, exposure to the cleaning chemicals and anesthetics, risk to the back while helping the patients and so on..
Registered Nurse Training and Certification
To enter this career, one has to complete an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or Bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), which is commonly done. There is one more option of acquiring a diploma from an approved nursing program.
The ADN program takes about 3 years to complete and is offered by community or junior colleges. BSN program takes 4 years to complete and is done in a college or university. Diploma program is about 3 years and is done in hospitals. A student must pass a licensing examination to obtain the nursing license and once this is obtained, a student qualifies for an entry-level nurse job.
The advantage of BSN program has its added advantage of a wide range of opportunities since some of the career paths for nurses are offered only to the students with BSN degrees.
All these courses educate the students in fields of anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, behavioral science, nursing etc. Practical experience is provided by supervised clinical exposure in various departments such as psychiatry, maternity, pediatrics, ambulatory clinics etc.
Registered Nurse Career
A RN who has completed one of the degrees such as ADN, BSN, or a diploma, qualifies for an entry-level nurse. However sky is the limit when it comes to career options. There is a huge range of specializations that can be chosen and done as aspired by the student and advance in that field. Enough experience and extreme performance will lead to promotions and to higher responsible positions such as head nurse, assistant director, director, vice president, etc. To go high in a management-level nursing position, one has to graduate an advanced degree in nursing, which last for about 2 years.
The increase in pressure on hospitals to discharge patient’s at the earliest due to financial pressures, also increases the demand for more number of RNs. The work schedules are very flexible depending on the employers and around 21% of RNs are union numbers or covered by union contract.
Registered Nurse Salary
Annual earnings of a RN vary from $33,970 to $48000 approximately. In general medical and surgical hospitals it even goes up to $ 50,000 approximately with the median earnings for a clinical nurse specialist being around $72,000. There are also other additional benefits and bonuses etc that one can avail as a registered nurse.
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