Nursing

From WikiMD's Wellness Encyclopedia

[[Category:Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:Pagetype/setindex' not found. with short description]]

Nurse
British woman tending to a baby.jpg
A British nurse caring for a baby
Occupation
NamesNurse
Activity sectors
Nursing
Specialty{{#statements:P1995}}
Description
CompetenciesCaring for general well-being of patients
Education required
Qualifications in terms of statutory regulations
according to national, state, or
provincial legislation in each country
Fields of
employment
Related jobs


Nursing is a profession within the health care sector. Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Nurse instructing father on how to bathe his child
Nurse instructing father on how to bathe his child

What do nurses do?[edit | edit source]

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions.

Work Environment[edit | edit source]

Registered nurses work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities. Others work in outpatient clinics and schools.

How to Become a Registered Nurse[edit | edit source]

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses must be licensed.

Pay[edit | edit source]

The median annual wage for registered nurses was $75,330 in May 2020.

U.S. Army Nurse WWII
U.S. Army Nurse WWII

Job Outlook[edit | edit source]

Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur for a number of reasons, including an increased emphasis on preventive care; increasing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as this group leads longer and more active lives. Registered nurses held about 3.1 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of registered nurses were as follows:

  • Hospitals; state, local, and private 60%
  • Ambulatory healthcare services 18
  • Nursing and residential care facilities 7
  • Government 5
  • Educational services; state, local, and private 3


Ambulatory healthcare services includes industries such as physicians’ offices, home healthcare, and outpatient care centers. Nurses who work in home health travel to patients’ homes; public health nurses may travel to community centers, schools, and other sites.

Some nurses travel frequently in the United States and throughout the world to help care for patients in places where there are not enough healthcare workers.

Injuries and Illnesses[edit | edit source]

Registered nurses may spend a lot of time walking, bending, stretching, and standing. They are vulnerable to back injuries because they often must lift and move patients.

The work of registered nurses may put them in close contact with people who have infectious diseases, and they frequently come into contact with potentially harmful and hazardous drugs and other substances. Therefore, registered nurses must follow strict guidelines to guard against diseases and other dangers, such as accidental needle sticks and exposure to radiation or to chemicals used in creating a sterile environment.

Work Schedules[edit | edit source]

Nurses who work in hospitals and nursing care facilities usually work in shifts to provide round-the-clock coverage. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. They may be on call, which means that they are on duty and must be available to work on short notice.

Nurses who work in offices, schools, and other places that do not provide 24-hour care are more likely to work regular business hours.

Education[edit | edit source]

Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. Registered nurses must be licensed.

Education[edit | edit source]

  • Nursing education programs usually include courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences, as well as in liberal arts. Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree programs typically take 4 years to complete; associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree, and diploma programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. Diploma programs are typically offered by hospitals or medical centers, and there are far fewer diploma programs than there are BSN, ADN, and ASN programs. All programs include supervised clinical experience.
  • Bachelor's degree programs usually include education in healthcare and related fields such as science technologies, biology, communications, and critical thinking. A bachelor’s or higher degree is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.

Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs (bachelor’s, associate’s, or diploma) qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.

Registered nurses with an ADN, ASN, or diploma may go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree through an RN-to-BSN program. There are also master’s degree programs in nursing, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, and accelerated programs for those who wish to enter the field of nursing and already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement.

Clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) must earn a master’s degree in nursing and typically already have 1 year or more of work experience as an RN or in a related field. CNSs who conduct research typically need a doctoral degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations[edit | edit source]

Registered nurses must have a nursing license issued by the state in which they work. To become licensed, nurses must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

Other requirements for licensing, such as passing a criminal background check, vary by state. Each state’s board of nursing provides specific requirements. For more information on the NCLEX-RN and a list of state boards of nursing, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Nurses may become certified through professional associations in specific areas, such as ambulatory care, gerontology, or pediatrics. Although certification is usually voluntary, it demonstrates adherence to a specific level of competency, and some employers require it.

In addition, registered nursing positions may require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification.

CNSs must satisfy additional state licensing requirements, such as earning specialty certifications. Contact state boards of nursing for specific requirements.

Important Qualities[edit | edit source]

  • Critical-thinking skills. Registered nurses must assess changes in the health status of patients, such as determining when to take corrective action.
  • Communication skills. Registered nurses must be able to communicate effectively with patients in order to understand their concerns and evaluate their health conditions. Nurses need to clearly explain instructions, such as how to take medication. They must work in teams with other health professionals and communicate patients’ needs.
  • Compassion. Registered nurses should be caring and empathetic when working with patients.
  • Detail oriented. Registered nurses must be precise because they must ensure that patients get the correct treatments and medicines at the right time.
  • Emotional stability. Registered nurses need emotional resilience and the ability to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stressors.
  • Organizational skills. Nurses often work with multiple patients who have a variety of health needs. The ability to coordinate numerous treatment plans and records is critical to ensure that each patient receives appropriate care.
  • Physical stamina. Nurses should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting patients. They may be on their feet for most of their shift.

Advancement[edit | edit source]

Most registered nurses begin as staff nurses in hospitals or community health settings. With experience, good performance, and continuing education, they can move to other settings or be promoted to positions with more responsibility.

In management, nurses may advance from assistant clinical nurse manager, charge nurse, or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles, such as assistant director or director of nursing, vice president of nursing, or chief nursing officer. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions require a graduate degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership skills, communication ability, negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of healthcare. Their nursing expertise and experience on a healthcare team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care businesses. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations—need registered nurses for jobs in health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance.

Some RNs may become nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, or nurse practitioners, which, along with clinical nurse specialists, are types of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). APRNs need a master’s degree but many have a doctoral degree. APRNs may provide primary and specialty care, and in many states they may prescribe medications.

Other nurses work as postsecondary teachers or researchers in colleges and universities, which typically requires a Ph.D.

Nursing Resources


Medicine - Specialties and subspecialties
Surgery

Cardiac surgery - Cardiothoracic surgery - Colorectal surgery - Ophthalmology - General surgery - Neurosurgery - Oral and maxillofacial surgery - Orthopedic surgery - Hand surgery - Otolaryngology - ENT - Pediatric surgery - Plastic surgery - Reproductive surgery - Surgical oncology - Transplant surgery - Trauma surgery - Urology - Andrology - Vascular surgery

Medicine Internal medicine - Allergy / Immunology - Angiology - Cardiology - Endocrinology - Gastroenterology - Hepatology - Geriatrics - Hematology - Hospital medicine - Infectious disease - Nephrology - Oncology - Pulmonology - Rheumatology
Obstetrics and gynaecology Gynaecology - Gynecologic oncology - Maternal–fetal medicine - Obstetrics - Reproductive endocrinology and infertility - Urogynecology
Diagnostic Radiology - Interventional radiology - Nuclear medicine - Pathology - Anatomical - Clinical pathology - Clinical chemistry - Cytopathology - Medical microbiology - Transfusion medicine
Other specialties Addiction medicine - Adolescent medicine - Anesthesiology - Dermatology - Disaster medicine - Diving medicine - Emergency medicine - Family medicine - General practice - Hospital medicine - Intensive care medicine - Medical genetics - Narcology - Neurology - Clinical neurophysiology - Occupational medicine - Ophthalmology - Oral medicine - Pain management - Palliative care - Pediatrics - Neonatology - Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) - Preventive medicine - Psychiatry -Addiction psychiatry - Radiation oncology - Reproductive medicine - Sexual medicine - Sleep medicine - Sports medicine - Transplantation medicine - Tropical medicine - Travel medicine - Venereology
Medical education Medical school - USMLE - Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery - Bachelor of Medical Sciences - Doctor of Medicine - Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine - Alternative medicine - Allied health - Dentistry - Podiatry - Pharmacy - Physiotherapy - Molecular oncology - Nanomedicine - Personalized medicine - Public health - Rural health - Therapy - Traditional medicine - Veterinary medicine - Physician - Chief physician - History of medicine
Misc. topics Health topics A-Z - Rare diseases - Drugs - Diet - Medicine portal - First Aid - Glossary of medicine - Health insurance - Glossary of health topics - Drug classes - Medicines - Dentistry portal - Pharmacology and Medications-Medications portal - Pharmacology portal - Psychiatry portal


Wiki.png

Navigation: Wellness - Encyclopedia - Health topics - Disease Index‏‎ - Drugs - World Directory - Gray's Anatomy - Keto diet - Recipes

Search WikiMD


Ad.Tired of being Overweight? Try W8MD's physician weight loss program.
Semaglutide (Ozempic / Wegovy and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro / Zepbound) available.
Advertise on WikiMD

WikiMD is not a substitute for professional medical advice. See full disclaimer.

Credits:Most images are courtesy of Wikimedia commons, and templates Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY SA or similar.

Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD