Registered Nurses care for patients in a variety of settings; hospitals, nursing homes and home care agencies all employ RNs for patient care. RNs have a very important role and are often the sole individual in charge during a shift in the facility. Some nurses also are heads of departments, such as skin care, infection control and general health, in medical facilities. These professionals also work in offices and schools, doing casework and providing health training and care to the public. Many nurses work in public health clinics and perform routine procedures such as vaccinations, saving patients the hassle of paying a fee to see a doctor for the same work. Nurses show caring and compassion to people; patience, kindness and a gentle touch are necessary attributes to have.
Many registered nurses go on to receive additional education, which can lead to a higher salary and more career opportunities. Check out the programs below which offer free information:
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
In a medical facility setting, nurses must monitor their patients’ conditions closely. Patients are either ill people of all ages, children, elderly, disabled or mentally handicapped. Communicating with other nurses and aides is necessary to obtain information. Registered Nurses must document all information accurately and promptly. This data is then used to formulate a care plan for each patient. Care plans include medical and personal history, medications and all physical, emotional and spiritual needs. In order to meet these needs, the RN must formulate programs for nurse aides and activity aides to perform with the patient. The RN is also in charge of performing tasks the other nurses and nurse aides are unable to do. Intravenous procedures and various other tasks may only be performed by a Registered Nurse. These nurses are also responsible for monitoring medication administration records, checking for errors. Communicating with family members and guardians is also a part of an RN’s job.
Some RNs work in various other settings, such as a doctor’s office, an organization’s office or as an instructor for Medication Aide or Nursing Aide classes. When working in a physician’s office, the nurse performs procedures she or he is licensed to do. In organizational offices, RNs meet with specific groups of people with health needs, such as low-income single women, educating them and providing basic medical care. Aide instructors teach students in a classroom setting and accompany them to their clinical rotations. Basic care and assistance with activities of daily living are taught by the instructor.
Registered Nurse Training And Education Requirements
Completing an RN program takes approximately 2-3 years for full-time students seeking an Associate’s Degree, with full-time based on 12 credit hours per semester. Lecture classes in the health sciences category are to be expected, along with Biology, Anatomy, Physiology, Chemistry, Algebra, English Composition, Psychology, Sociology and Communication classes. A Bachelor’s Degree may also be earned, with more health sciences and specialty classes required. Those holding a BSN will face more diverse employment opportunities upon graduation.
Registered Nurse Salary And Wages
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average RN salary to be $62,450 in 2008. RNs who worked in agencies earned the most, averaging $68,160 per year. Medical and Surgical hospital RNs followed close behind this statistic at $63,880 per year. Those employed by physician offices earned $59,210, home health RNs earned an average of $58,740 and RNs employed by nursing home facilities earned approximately $57,060 per year. Salaries vary depending upon the amount of experience an RN has; also the degree and additional education play an important role in determining salary.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Registered Nurse Certifications
After successful completion of either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, graduates must take the NCLEX-RN exam in order to obtain their registration and state license. In order to maintain their license, RNs must complete a certain number of continuing educational hours, as defined differently by each state. Every state’s website has a licensing division; this is where complete and up-to-date information may be found for individual states. Continuing education hours are generally completed by attending inservices, conferences or classes. Each class or inservice counts for a certain number of education credit hours. Renewing a license is a process that must be performed every several years. To renew the license, in addition to continuing education, an RN must also pay a fee. Fees vary from state to state, but are very affordable.
Registered Nurse Professional Associations
The American Nurses Association, or ANA, is the most popular nationwide professional association for RNs. This association provides its members with valuable and new information, tips for care-giving and various other responsibilities faced in this field. To join the ANA, nurses must choose a membership option. The site offers direct membership, which gives membership to ANA only, limited low-cost membership or a gold package, in which an RN will gain ANA membership and membership to their state’s Nurses Association. Fees are affordable and vary between packages; some may change from one year to the next. Each of the 50 states has its own professional Nurses Association. Membership involves filling out an application with contact and personal information, as well as paying a small fee. Having a state or national association affiliation will impress prospective employers and clients, in addition to providing useful information to RNs.