Career Detail

Registered Nurse
“Tender Loving Care”
Care for and educate patients on various medical conditions and provide emotional support to patients family members.
Average Pay: $62,450    Qualifications: A bachelor's of science degree
The Job
Registered Nurses (RNs) record patients medical histories and symptoms, and help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation. RNs teach patients and their families how to manage their illness or injury, explaining post-treatment home care needs; diet, nutrition, and exercise programs; and self-administration of medication and physical therapy. Some RNs work to promote general health by educating the public on warning signs and symptoms of disease. RNs also might run general health screening or immunization clinics, blood drives, and public seminars on various conditions. Hours vary and some nurses are on call.
Work Environment
Most RNs work in well-lighted, comfortable health care facilities. Home health and public health nurses travel to patients' homes, schools, community centers, and other sites.
College Majors
A bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and a diploma.
Minimum Qualifications
Nurses most commonly enter the occupation by completing an associate degree or bachelor's degree program. Also must complete a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Nurses should be caring, responsible, and detail oriented. Emotional stability to cope with human suffering,emergencies, and other stresses.
Quick Facts
  • Registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.5 million jobs.
  • About 59 percent of jobs are in hospitals.
  • Many employers offer flexible work schedules, child care, educational benefits, and bonuses.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of registered nurses were $62,450 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,640 and $76,570. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,410, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $92,240.
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