Working as a registered nurse can be very rewarding.
You’ll have an important role in improving and maintaining your patient’s health and wellbeing.
If you enjoy working closely with people, are a good problem solver, and are interested in medicine and health then becoming a registered nurse may be right for you.
The demand for nurses is set to increase over the next 10 years, so those who are qualified can expect excellent employment prospects.
Nursing is a career that offers a lot of variety.
Some nurses work in hospitals and offer critical care, provide support to doctors in clinics, while some may specialize in education.
If you want a career that offers you a lot of options for professional development further down the road, then you might like to become a registered nurse.
Education Requirements to Become a Registered Nurse
While nursing is rewarding, you will also face many challenges during your career.
You may confront situations that others could find difficult to stomach, see your patients in pain, and not always be able to help them.
If you feel that you could find these situations difficult, then it’s a good idea to spend some time in a hospital.
See if you can do some work experience and get a better feel for the industry.
If you’re still in high school, and you would like to become a registered nurse, taking subjects in health, science, and English is a good start.
You’ll need to make good grades so as to get a place in college.
There are a few educational pathways to become a registered nurse.
The first way is to complete a two year associate’s degree at community college.
While this is the shortest way to qualify, it may also limit you as to career progression.
If you want to work in a large hospital, you may need to undergo more education.
A bachelor of science with a major in nursing is your next choice.
This takes roughly four years to complete and will give you a broader knowledge base.
This degree will be highly regarded amongst your potential employers.
For those who already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field, there are a few nursing masters’ degrees around that will allow you to enter this career field as well.
Regardless of your education choices, you will need to pass the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse.
Registered Nurse Job Description
A registered nurse is the main communicator with a patient when they are in the health care system.
Many nurses have an area in which they specialize in.
For instance, a nurse may work in an ER and have a detailed knowledge of emergency treatments.
On the other end of the scale, they could work in a cosmetic surgery clinic, and have lots of experience and expertise in that niche.
One of the great things about nursing is that there can be many paths you choose to follow once you are qualified.
Here are some of the tasks a registered nurse might complete in a day:
- Admit new patients for treatment
- Perform initial assessment
- Taking a medical history
- Communicating with patients and families
- Communicating with doctors and other medical staff
- Administering medication
- Taking vital signs
- Monitoring a patients progress
- Providing a patient with health information
Registered Nurse Salary and Career Path
60% of registered nurses work in hospitals, and this is where most people start their careers.
Working in a hospital allows you to complete a wide range of tasks and gain experience on the job.
Some are promoted to positions with more responsibility.
Others will go in to work in other settings, such as clinics, day surgery centers, colleges, or even schools.
Some similar roles that a registered nurse may move onto include:
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Researcher
- Medical Biller and Coder
- School Nurse
- Dental Hygienist
- Physicians assistant
When you become a registered nurse, you can look forward to working in an industry which is growing much faster than the average rate.
This means that there is plenty of opportunities around for those wanting to enter the field.
An entry level nurse could expect to earn about $50,000 a year, while the median salary is $62,000 a year.
The top 10% of nurses in the field can be paid over $90,000 a year.
If you are looking for a career in health care that allows you to work closely with patients then you might enjoy nursing.
While some education is required, employment is currently very strong and looks to continue that way into the future.