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Nurse / Registered Nurse


How to Become a Nurse
Nurse Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of Nurses
Nurse Salary
Influential Professionals in Nursing
Leading Organizations for Nurses
Top Cities for Nursing Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Nurse

When thinking about a career in the healthcare industry, there is none more rewarding and challenging than the field of nursing. A nurse, also called a registered nurse or RN, is a person who has received specific training and certification to care for sick, infirmed, or disabled people. In the United States, nurses/registered nurses make up the largest occupation in the health care field, holding approximately 59 percent of all jobs in American hospitals.

If you choose to become a nurse/registered nurse within the United States, you will need at least a high school diploma to enter nursing school. You are required to graduate from an accredited nursing program, and pass a national licensure exam. This license must be renewed on a periodic basis, and you must take continuing education classes every few years to keep your skills current.

There are three major pathways to becoming a nurse/registered nurse. One way is to obtain an Associate's degree, which requires you to complete 2 years of college. The second way is to obtain a Bachelor's degree, in which you will have to complete 4 years of college. The third way, a nursing diploma program, takes approximately 3 years to complete.

Regardless of the area of specialization, to become a nurse/registered nurse, you will have to take courses in anatomy, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and nursing theory to name a few. You will be required to receive clinical training, which involves taking classes and hands-on learning experience under the supervision of experienced nurses in either a hospital or other medical setting.

Many accredited colleges and universities in the United States offer nursing degrees in classrooms and online. Advanced nursing programs are also available for students who already have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in a field outside nursing. Since these programs are often shorter in length than most nursing programs, they are great for people who want to accelerate their career.

What does a Nurse do?

Nurses performs a variety of functions that are essential for patient recovery. Regardless of their specialty or workplace setting, he or she treats wounds, provides medication and treatment, gives emotional support to patients and their families, and maintains accurate and detailed records of patient symptoms. A registered nurse also educates the public and patients about various medical conditions. He or she documents the medical history of patients and their symptoms, and performs diagnostic testing and analyzes their results. A nurse must safely operate medical equipment, and follows up with patient care and rehabilitation.

Nurses also teache patients and families how to successfully manage their medical condition or injury at home. Patients are taught how to manage their own home care needs away from a medical setting, including how to implement their assigned diet, nutrition, exercise program, physical therapy, and medication regime.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Nurse?

If you are interested in nursing, you need to be a caring, compassionate, kind, and nurturing person. You also need to be good at recognizing problems and remembering details. A nurse must be able to work extremely well with doctors, nurses, and patients. Because many registered nurses also supervise others, it is important that you have excellent supervisory and interpersonal skills.

A majority of nurses spend a considerable amount of time walking, standing, bending, lifting, and stretching, so it is essential that you be in good physical condition. Working in a medical setting can be extremely stressful, so nurses/registered nurses must be capable of assisting many patients at once, and deal with medical emergencies at the same time. Patients require 24-hour care, so you need to be available to work on short notice. If you choose to work in a hospital setting, you must be willing to work nights, weekends, holidays, and be on-call.

Nursing exposes you to many hazards. Nurses are constantly in close contact with individuals who have infectious diseases. They are constantly exposed to radiation from x-ray machines, and solutions, medications, and compounds that are potentially harmful, toxic and hazardous to their health. Registered Nurses must adhere to rigid, established guidelines to guard against disease and other dangers in the workplace. In addition, registered nurses must have the ability to administer patient care, and avoid becoming too emotionally attached to patients and their families.

How much does a Nurse make?

The salary of nurses, like any other profession, can vary based upon their place of employment, skill level, College Degree, and geographical area. The average salary for nurses nurses in the United States, as of May 2007 was $62,480. Fifty to ninety percent of all nurses/registered nurses made between $50,000 and $87,000 during the same year. Nurses who work in hospitals make more money than those working in doctors' offices, and home health care and nursing facilities. Nurses who are owners of health care facilities make significantly more than all other registered nurses in the health care industry.


Who are some influential professionals in this field?

One of the most influential persons in the field of nursing is Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of the California Nurses Association. She was named one of America's "Ten Most Influential" women of 2006 by MSN. Another prominent registered nurse, Rebecca M. Patton, is the President of the American Nurses Association, an organization who endorses candidates for President of the United States. Claire Bertschinger, who worked for the International Red Cross during the highly-publicized Ethiopian famine in 1984, is a famous author, and the recipient of the Florence Nightingale Medal, Woman of the Year Award, and the Human Rights in Nursing Award.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is a professional organization that represents the 2.9 million registered nurses in the United States. Through its 54 affiliate-member associations, the ANA promotes the nursing profession by establishing high standards in the area of nursing, and protects the rights of nurses in the workplace. The American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) is associated with the American Hospital Association. The AONE has more than 6,000 nurses who develop, design, and facilitate managed care, and helps to shape health care public policy. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing oversees and ensures the safe practice of nursing for 50 boards of nursing in the United States, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories - Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

What are the top cities for Nursing jobs?

Job prospects for nurses are excellent as it is projected that more than 587,000 jobs will be created from 2006 to 2016. The State of California has the most top cities for nursing jobs. Oakland, Freemont, and Hayward, California are the top cities in the United States for nurses, followed second by the San Francisco, San Mateo, and Redwood City area. San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, California come in third place, while Salinas, California comes in at a distant fourth. Midland, Texas comes in fifth place for top cities as far as nursing jobs are concerned.

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