A Deeper Look at the Registered Nurse Job Description

registered nurse If you want to make an impact in the world, working as a registered nurse (RN) is one of the most effective paths to a rewarding career. RNs provide critical medical care and work closely with patients in many exciting and meaningful specialized capacities.

But what is the experience of an RN really like? In this article we’ll take a closer look at key registered nursing career information and share the insight of experienced nurses to dig into the things you won’t find in a job description.

Registered nurse job description details

There are certain things you can expect to find in any write up of a job description. This baseline information is important to determine if a particular position is what you’re looking for or not. Take a look at some of the basic things you can expect from a registered nursing role.

Registered nurse job duties

It’s important to remember that the role of a “registered nurse” covers quite a bit of ground. Registered nurses work in a wide variety of specialized roles including emergency care, neonatal intensive care, gerontology, pediatrics—just to name a few. Each of these specializations will have nuances that affect their individual job descriptions.

That said, there are some general registered nursing duties found across nearly all specialized roles:

  • Assisting with the administration of diagnostic testing and analyzing results
  • Recording medical histories and taking vital signs
  • Administering medication and monitoring for reactions or side effects
  • Establishing plans of care
  • Providing patients and families with education surrounding medical conditions and treatment
  • Working closely with physicians and other members of a healthcare team

Registered nurse job settings

Name a healthcare setting and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find a registered nurse employed there. Registered nurses working in hospitals, specialized clinics, outpatient facilities and long-term care facilities shouldn’t come as much of a surprise—but there are also roles within the military, school nursing and as an employee of insurance companies.

Where a registered nurse works is often tied to their training and if they’ve pursued a specialization. For instance, NICU and ER nurses are likely to spend more of their career working in a hospital setting, while oncology nurses are more likely to be found in working specialized clinics.

The community a registered nurse works in can also have an influence on the types of facilities (and specializations) available to them—a larger population served generally leads to more demand for specialized services.

Registered nurse salary and job outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12 percent through 2028.1 The BLS attributes this strong growth projection to an increased emphasis on preventative care, higher rates of chronic health conditions and the expanding healthcare needs of the baby-boom generation. Coupled with that solid demand is above-average earning potential—the BLS reports that registered nurses had a median annual salary of $71,730 in 2018.1

Registered nurse educational requirements

A registered nurse must have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program. RNs must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) RN exam and finally apply for licensure in the state where they intend to work.

Becoming an RN won’t happen overnight, but once you attain your license you’ll have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of people in your community.


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