A registered nurse must have a large knowledge base for the assessment, planning and intervention and health promotion, as his/her tasks involve dealing with illnesses and preventing them. Staff nurses at hospitals constitute the largest group of registered nurses. They provide the bedside patient care and are assigned to any of the specific area in the hospital, including oncology, surgery, maternity, pediatrics, emergency room, cardiology, etc. (Registered nurse, 2012).
Registered nurses usually record medical histories and symptoms of patients, help to perform diagnostic tests, administer medical treatments provided to patients, analyze diagnostic test results, and set up patients’ plans (Becoming a registered nurse, n.d.). Additionally, they observe patients, record observations, consult with doctors, ND monitor medical equipment.
Registered nurses use nursing knowledge and complex judgment to assess health needs, provide care, advice, support, and manage people’s health. They work both independently and in collaboration with other professionals in the sphere of health care. Moreover, theses nurses provide comprehensive assessment related to the development, implementation, and evaluation of an integrated health care plan.
Registered nurses generally work in various clinical contexts, which depend on their experience and education. They may use their knowledge and skills to effectively manage, evaluate, teach, and research the nursing practice. These nurses provide health services in consistency with their education and competences, as well as proper standards and legislative requirements. Thus, registered nurses have a unique scope of practice. The code of ethics for registered nurses suggests moral commitments to the people they serve. It provides the ethical standards by which registered nurses should conduct their nursing practice.
Registered nursing students may choose various educational options. Some teaching hospitals offer students 3-year diploma programs, but these are rare. As a rule, registered nurses earn associate degrees or bachelor’s degrees. Bachelors of Science in Nursing programs take 4 years to complete, while Associate’s Degree in Nursing requires 2 to 3 years. Licensed graduates of any education program typically have the entry-level position qualifications as staff nurses. In some cases, employers require a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes, registered nurses with Associate’s Degree in Nursing seek to go back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree. In addition, there are master’s degree programs, combined bachelor’s and master’s programs, as well as programs for the people who want to enter the nursing profession and hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. There are numerous educational institution in the USA that provide education to registered nurses, for example, Everest College (Salt Lake City, UT), Roseman University of Health Sciences (Salt Lake City, UT), Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing (Richmond, VA), Longwood University (Farmville, VA), Sentara College of Health Sciences (Chesapeake, VA), and many others.
The educational cost in the field of nursing varies and depends on the school, its location, type of the degree program, and other factors. Students in community colleges pay from $3,000 to $5,000 per year, while those in a private 4-year college pay over $20,000 per year (How to become a registered nurse, 2015). All over the US territories, registered nurses are required to have a license. Nurses who graduate from appropriate programs or pass a National Council Licensure Examination (also referred to as NCLEX-RN) are allowed to get this license. However, states may have different licensing requirements. As a rule, nurses become certified through professional associations in specific areas, including pediatrics, gerontology, and others. Nursing certification is voluntary, but it is a demonstration of adherence to standards.
The job market for registered nurses is strong and this tendency will continue in the near future. It is related to the influence of demographic trends and new federal legislation, both of which cause the demand for nurses in the sphere of health care to increase. The economic analysis of the labor market of registered nurses shows some short-term effects of changes in wages and the overall unemployment level on the number of nurses seeking to work and the number of hours they want to work.
As there are continuous shortages of nurses in the USA, registered nurses have extended opportunities, as they are in great demand. The employment of registered nurses is going to grow by nearly 19% until 2022. The number of jobs advertised varies. There are 2053 registered nurses jobs at Workopolis, 549,791 jobs at Indeed, and more than 2000 jobs in the Sunday Herald. Experience is always welcomed, as expert nurses have more skills and knowledge. However, the lack of registered nurses does not make experience the main factor that influences the employers’ choices.
In 2012, the median annual wage of a registered nurse was nearly $65,000. Compensation usually depends on the level of nurse’s education, experience, facility, and other factors. Experienced registered nurses with proper education may earn more than $80,000 a year. In 2014, the average salary was $66,640. The highest salary of all times was more than $98,000 (Job outlook for registered nurses (RN), 2015).
Many employers provide nurses with educational benefits, bonuses, offer flexible work schedules and childcare. Registered nurses work in rotating shifts that cover 24 hours, as patients in nursing care facilities and hospitals need constant care. Moreover, they work during holidays, weekends, and nights. Some of them may be on call, which means that they should be available to work any time and on short notice.
Registered nurses may have four career advancement levels, including Novice Nurse, Proficient Nurse, Expert Nurse, Mentor Nurse, and Nurse Leader (RN career advancement levels, 2015). It is evident that better education provides more advancement opportunities. Additional education is welcomed due to the skills and proficiency it provides. It enables registered nurses move up the career ladder.
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There are numerous local, state, and national professional organizations available to students who seek to become registered nurses. They are Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Critical Care Nurses, National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing, Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives, Society of Pediatric Nurses, and many others. Registered nurses may deepen their knowledge and skills through a variety of journals available in the libraries and online. For example, there are Registered Nurse Journal, AORN Journal, The Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, Journal of Professional Nursing, etc.
Continuing Educational Units are required for the profession of registered nurses only in some states (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, etc.). However, nurses do not need it in New York, Missouri, Maryland, Maine, Indiana, Idaho, Hawaii, Guam, Georgia, Connecticut, Colorado, and Arizona (American Nurses Association, 2013).
Reflection/Personal Career Plan
Registered nursing is a suitable carrier for me due to my personal traits and immense desire to help people. I am trustworthy, helpful, kind, and compassionate. Education will make me a competent and professional registered nurse. I realize that learning is vital for any career. Therefore, I would like to enter a proper educational establishment, get a degree and find a job. I will do my best to attend seminars, conferences, and workshops to deepen my knowledge and develop more skills. The implementation of effective learning strategies and a desire to become a qualified nurse will help me achieve my goals and objectives.