Being a certified nurse is a wonderful career that demands a lot of intellectual and interpersonal skills development because it deals with the lives of living beings. The earlier you decide in your life that you want to become a registered nurse, the earlier it will help you to gain focus and dedication to it. To become a registered nurse, one does not need to acquire a master’s degree. However, it is mandatory to take the National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam in person, irrespective of the mode of education (offline or online) you opted for in your degree program. Below, we will dive deep into the details of the job description, duties, salary, and FAQs about this particular career professional.
Who Is a Registered Nurse?
A registered nurse is a licensed medical practitioner who offers immediate medical assistance to a patient by monitoring, administrating, recording, educating, and providing medicine to ail a patient’s woes. These individuals are actually the ones that keep a routine check on the patient’s health, thus making appropriate decisions related to the patient’s health whenever needed. They also conduct physical examinations and tests to find out about the patients’ illnesses. They also educate and provide support to the patients whenever required. Registered nurses are considered the backbone of the medical sector in the USA as they are in contact with patients almost all the time. To become a registered nurse, a master’s degree is not required. However, for specializing courses, one must opt for additional certificate courses, which result in high knowledge and income for the registered nurse. Since being a registered nurse comes with a load of responsibilities, the income gained from this profession allows the individual to live a comfortable life.
What are the Duties of a Registered Nurse?
The responsibilities of a registered nurse may vary according to the work environment and specialization, but the main duties include the following:
- Take a note of the patient’s behavior and make a record of it.
- Perform routine check-up examinations and diagnostic tests if required.
- Take a note of the patient’s medical history, allergies, and so on.
- Inform and advise patients and their extended families on the needed medical plans by telling them all the relevant data needed.
- Keep a check on the patient and their condition, change the wound covering, and provide the necessary treatment needed to heal the patient.
- Read up on the patient’s condition and make appropriate decisions whenever needed.
- Take the counsel of your seniors and other doctors to make the best decisions for your patient’s health.
- Provide direction and assistance to other nurses, their assistants, and helping hands.
- Read up on efficient and effective ways to help your patients and the overall medical process to provide positive outcomes.
- Operate various medical equipment needed to examine the patient of their illness.
- Provide comfort and support to patients in need.
- Monitor the health of the patient routinely to avoid casualties.
- Check and change the IV drips whenever required.
What Are the Qualifications Required to Apply for The Position of a Registered Nurse?
To pursue the job of either a full-time or part-time registered nurse, one must dedicate at least 2- 4 years of their life to academic purposes. In addition, potential candidates are required to stick to the following steps:
- Earn a credential degree in any of the nursing courses: Candidates are required to graduate and receive any of these, that is, an accredited diploma, bachelor or associate degree from a credited academic institution in order to proceed further. The time span for an associate degree is about two years, whereas a bachelor’s may take four years if opted for full-time and two years if opted for an associate-to bachelors’ program for registered nurses.
- Take the NCLEX Exam: All students are required to sign up and pass the examination held by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing for which they are trained in their respective course programs. Candidates are required to take and pass an examination that consists of around 120 questions within a time frame of six hours.
- Get a state license: In order to practice nursing in America, students are required to obtain licensure from the respective state that they want to work in. They can obtain this license by showing their credentials and NCLEX scores.
- Pursue additional education: Though not mandatory, registered nurses are encouraged to go for a master’s degree to increase and specialize their intelligence to work at a more advanced level. You can even pursue doctoral programs in order to work as a scientific researcher or as a professor at universities.
- Good Decision-Making Skills: Being a registered nurse means that the individual is required to scan the entire situation and then take any further steps without being in haste or worry. These nurses have to be quick in their judgment as medical emergencies are different than normal emergencies because one mistake might lead to fatalities.
- Be Alert: Registered nurses are required to be attentive in the work environment in times of emergencies, accidents, or even daily check-ups, especially when the doctor on call is not around to avoid any mishaps. The nurse is supposed to be aware of her surroundings and is required to not miss any emergency call that could result in the demise of any victim.
- Engage in Critical Thinking: Registered nurses over time gain clinical intelligence and in-depth knowledge of their field, making them self-sufficient, which helps them develop critical thinking skills which facilitate better decision making.
- Develop Organizational Skills: Registered nurses are required to manage and perform their duties in a systematic manner with good time management that results in the best care for patients and avoids any complications. This means creating a work calendar that specifies the daily routine of the nurse in order to perform duties in the right manner.
- Attention to Details: Registered nurses are required to be focused and pay attention to even minute details, whether during check-ups or while making a report on a patient, to avoid risking the life of anyone in medical care because even the smallest of problems can hold great importance in anyone’s case.
- Being Empathetic: Registered nurses are required to provide comfort and support whenever needed to patients in need of emotional distress. They are required to stay calm and composed and not get angry when patients are scared, even if it’s for a non-threatening situation.
Along with these, registered nurses should be responsible, observant, patient, kind, passionate, and excellent communicators to function better in this profession. This is one of the sensitive jobs as it involves human lives.
America is said to be amongst the world’s highest salary givers to registered nurses anywhere in the world. The average salary of a registered nurse varies from state to state, yet the hourly and annual pay of registered nurses still stays high as a whole, in contrast to other countries in the world. According to incrediblehealth.com, any registered nurse’s national average income is about 80,010 dollars annually, whereas the median wage is almost close to 75,330 dollars annually. The average hourly wage range is about 30.43 dollars to 37.24 dollars, respectively. However, the salary of any individual may vary depending on the skill set as well as the experience level one possesses. Presently, California is one of the highest salary paying spots in the country with an average of 120,560 dollars for its employees, followed by Hawaii, paying almost 104,830 dollars, and Massachusetts, paying 96,250 dollars. Currently, Alabama is one of the lowest-paying regions in the USA compared to its neighboring states, paying about 60,230 dollars annually, followed by South Dakota and Mississippi, paying 60,960 dollars and 61,250 dollars respectively to their registered nurses.
Please note that these salaries do not include the cost-of-living adjustment and are just a rough estimation of the base salary for this profession.
Frequently Asked Questions About Being a Registered Nurse
- What type of registered nurse earns the most?
A registered nurse holding a certificate in the specialization of anesthetics earns the highest income amongst all the specialized registered nurses. Therefore, you need to opt for an additional certificate to follow this career path.
- What type of registered nurse earns the least?
Due to the requirement for fewer educational qualifications, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) earn the least amount of money out of all the specialized registered nurses. To increase their pay, LPNs and LVNs can opt for an additional degree course in nursing.
- What is the present demand status for registered nurses?
Due to the Covid 19 surge, the demand for registered nurses has increased significantly, making it one of the tops searched job titles of the year.
- What are the skills one is required to put on a resume if applying for a nursing job?
Here is a list of expertise one can use to make a well-structured resume if applying for a nursing course:
- ICD Coding
- Leadership Qualities
- Mention of any medical equipment working knowledge
- Is registered nursing a good career choice?
Yes, a registered nurse is considered a fine career choice since the income from this position is considered above average compared to other jobs, thereby promising a good standard of living for the individual. In addition, this job also allows you to serve other people, thereby helping you do good for people.
- What is the average working hour for a registered nurse?
Registered nurses usually work in shifts of even numbers, meaning eight, ten, or even twelve hours. According to the hospital policy, nurses that work for eight hours work about four-five days a week, whereas those working for twelve hours work about three to four days a week since the job pays on an hourly basis. Individuals are allowed to work overtime in times of emergency.
- Is the work of a registered nurse considered hard?
Registered nurses’ work can sometimes be challenging since they have long shift hours wherein they are required to take care of patients with utmost care. However, it is also acknowledged as the most rewarding career.
- Can I apply in all 50 states upon receiving my registered nurse license?
Upon receiving your license, you can apply to the state you got your license from to apply for any transfers. You can use the temporary permit for practice until you receive your state-specific license.
- How many years does it take to become a registered nurse?
It usually takes about 2-4 years on average to become a nurse. However, one can also become a registered nurse in 2-3 years by going to medical school full time and giving the national council licensure exam early.
- Can I opt for an online course to become a registered nurse?
Yes, you can opt for an online course to become a registered course. You can approach a credited online college and get yourself registered there to obtain a degree in nursing, but taking the NLEX in person is mandatory.
Registered nursing jobs are considered one of the most reputable jobs that serve the greater good of the people. The job can be challenging at times, leading to overwhelming emotions in the minds of individuals. However, the result of this profession always leaves a positive feeling in the minds of caregivers. One must stay resilient through all the academic hard work, which will benefit the patient and even the individuals themselves. Therefore, one must prepare for this career with the utmost care and diligence to achieve fruitful results and contribute something exemplary to society.