How can you avoid nursing burnout?

Nursing burnout may affect some in the community but it doesn’t have to be your fate. Being proactive about your well-being can help ward off emotional exhaustion and keep you at your best—both at work and at home. Here are some strategies to maintain your zest for nursing:

  1. Put yourself first

It’s just like how flight attendants instruct you to place your oxygen mask on first before helping others, says Jeanne Dockins, RN, BSN, CNOR. When you’re in a profession that prioritizes caring for others, it’s easy to forget about yourself. But putting yourself first can be a useful way to ward off nursing burnout.

“As a surgical nurse for over 30 years, I learned the most important thing a nurse can do to avoid burnout is to learn to love yourself first. If you don’t love yourself, you become a super slave to your patients, partner and children. When you love yourself first, you can recognize when enough is enough and readjust to live your best life for you, your loved ones and your patients.”

Practice what you preach by doing something for yourself that you enjoy every day, no matter how small. Prioritize your mental health and schedule intentional time to relax and unwind—and don’t forget to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.

  1. Manage your stress and emotions

Don’t ignore growing feelings of stress or grief. Addressing these can help keep burnout at bay. Find a good listener to vent to or confide in after a tough day. Or, after a particularly taxing shift, debrief to someone in a way that respects your patients’ privacy so you can leave your emotional baggage at work instead of bringing it home. Stress management techniques, such as meditating, exercise and journaling can be extremely helpful for nurses to blow off steam as well.

  1. Know the signs and ask for help when you need it

Just by reading this article, you’re arming yourself with the information you need to protect yourself against nursing burnout. Be cognizant of the signs of burnout in yourself—exhaustion, alienation and disengagement—and reach out for help sooner rather than later.

“Know the signs, talk about it and ask for help to share the burden,” suggests recognition expert Sarah McVanel MSc, PCC, CHRL, CSODP. “There is no shame in talking about it—connection and support are key.”

Protect your passion

Nursing burnout can occur anytime—whether you’re burning the candle at both ends as a student or working your way up the ranks as an RN—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Utilize preventative measures and strategies to preserve your passion for nursing and maintain your well-being as you begin your career.


How to Become an RN Fast: 3 Potential Paths to Pursue

RN “The best things in life are worth waiting for.”

You’ve likely heard it a million times, and while you get the sentiment, this old adage just doesn’t sit right with you. You know what you want, and you’re not one to wait around for it. You prefer life in the fast lane, plus you have bills to pay and professional goals to reach. You simply don’t have the luxury of waiting.

You’re motivated to launch your registered nursing (RN) career and want to find a nursing program that will help you earn your scrubs as soon as possible.

You’ll be happy to hear that nursing is a field with a variety of entrance options to suit your preferences. So if you want to become a nurse fast, you can find a path to fit your needs. Once you’re working, you can always go on to advance your education further in the future.

Keep reading to learn more about your options for how to become an RN fast and see which path sounds like the best route for you.

What do LPNs do?

LPNs are valuable players on the nursing team. But what exactly do they do? These healthcare professionals are responsible for taking patient vitals, distributing medications and administering basic patient care, such as changing bandages and IV drips, among other duties, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.2

They typically work under the supervision of an RN or doctor and are sometimes responsible for overseeing nursing aides. The most common place of employment for LPNs is nursing and residential care facilities like nursing homes, according to the BLS. Other settings for LPNs include hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services and government facilities.

Career advancement for LPNs

LPNs who wish to advance their education can go on to apply their knowledge in a bridge program to earn their Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN). This plus passing the NCLEX-RN licensure exam and meeting all other state requirements would earn them the title of registered nurse (RN).

LPN salary and job growth

The median annual salary of LPNs in 2020 was $48,820, according to the BLS.2 Employment of LPNs is projected to grow nine percent through 2029, which is much higher than the national average projected rate of four percent for all occupations.2

2. ADN avenue: A rapid route to an RN role

Can be completed in as few as 18 months

If you have your sights set on the coveted role of RN with no pit stops on the way, acquiring an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) will be the fastest direct route to your career as a registered nurse. If you’re unfamiliar with the field, you might not know that an RN title can be earned with either an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree. By opting for your ADN, you could be launching your registered nursing career in as few as 18 months.1

What do RNs do?

It’s one of the most prevalent professions in healthcare, but what exactly do registered nurses do? RNs work under the supervision of physicians and are responsible for many patient care duties. This includes creating care plans, performing diagnostic tests and teaching patients how to manage their diagnoses. Most RNs are employed in hospitals, according to the BLS.2 They can also work in a variety of other settings, including nursing homes, private practices, schools, prisons and more.


Is RN to BSN Worth It? 9 Reasons to Consider Advancing Your Nursing Education

 BSN You’ve been working as a registered nurse (RN) for a while now and your experience has only solidified your passion for the job. You love the fact that you get to truly help people—and even when the shifts are tough, you know your work is meaningful.

There are so many reasons nurses invest so much of themselves in their work. And there are so many reasons nurses decide to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Everything from passion for learning, potential for career advancement and interest in nursing leadership is on the table when it comes to continued nursing education.

Going from RN to BSN can be intimidating, which is why you probably have some questions. Will I be able to juggle school and work? Is going from RN to BSN worth the extra investment? What will change when I have my BSN?

Even without a crystal ball, we can still safely say there are plenty of benefits to furthering your education as a nurse. But discovering if this is a good move for you will be a more personal journey. To help you make the best decision possible, we connected with some nursing pros to identify nine advantages for RNs who choose to pursue a BSN.

9 Reasons why you should consider an RN to BSN program

1. You’ll qualify for more jobs

The nursing field is on the rise, with employment of registered nurses projected to grow 12 percent through 2028, a rate much faster than the national average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 However, the BLS also notes that while the industry is opening more nursing jobs each year, nursing students are also increasing, keeping the job pool competitive.

As the aging baby boomer generation grows to need more medical care, nurses will likely be called upon in greater number than ever before.1 The BLS notes that in the fray, BSN nurses will have better job prospects. BSN nurses with experience working in the field or with certification in specialty areas should have the best chances of all.

That extra edge can be the difference between working in the location you want or for the employer you prefer.

2. You may have higher earning potential

Our nursing experts agree that generally speaking, the higher the nursing credential you receive, the more earning potential you could have. And since many healthcare systems are incentivized to hire BSN nurses, many employers offer more competitive salaries at that level of education.

Deborah Carlson, RN, BSN, BST and director of nursing at Boynton Health Service, says many hospitals pay higher salaries to nurses with a BSN. This earning potential could also increase throughout your career if you choose to advance to leadership positions.

“The BSN will also figure into decisions about promotions and professional growth,” says Wendie A. Howland, seasoned nurse and owner of Howland Health Consulting. As your experience and expertise grow, opportunities for leadership, specialty work and management can grow too—coming with new job titles and increased salary opportunity.

3. It can open doors for your career

You probably enrolled in nursing school to become a nurse, but there are many different nursing specialties you can pursue once you have some experience under your belt. Certain specialty positions—like a nurse anesthetist, nurse educator or case management nurse—require you to have a BSN at minimum.

“BSN degrees are preferred for most nursing positions, especially in specialty areas,” says Holly Mancini, instructor at Rasmussen University School of Nursing. “Nurses that are starting out in specialty areas such as critical care, emergency nursing, wound care and so on need a wider knowledge base to perform their jobs efficiently and effectively.” The chance to devote more time to what you love about the job is a huge potential benefit of the BSN.

Plus, if do you have any ambitions of moving into a leadership position—like a becoming a Nurse manager—a BSN will eventually be necessary.

4. Courses are flexible

Many RN to BSN programs are offered online. Since these programs cater to working nurses, whose schedules are unpredictable, they are designed with a ton of flexibility in mind.

Many of these online courses will allow you to participate in the discussion, lectures and assignments within certain time frames. If you can’t be online until night time, or if you have to do your coursework in the morning before your shift begins—many programs are organized to accommodate that. Rasmussen University’s RN to BSN program, for example, is offered in a fully online, competency-based format, which allows students to control the pace of how they tackle their coursework—if they know they have a busy stretch in their schedules, they can choose to work ahead during times where their schedules are more accommodating. This added flexibility helps make it easier to balance a busy work and school schedule.

5. They can be completed as few as 12 to 18 months

You may be surprised to hear you can complete an RN to BSN nursing program in as few as 12 to 18 months.2 There’s no need to wait years and years to take the next step in your career—you can knock this work out in relatively short order.

“These programs are primarily online classes, which provide the flexibility and convenience that working nurses need,” says Rasmussen University Nursing instructor Dina Waltz.

6. It will round out your skill set

Unlike Associate’s degree-level Nursing courses, which focus heavily on hands-on clinical skills, your RN to BSN courses will help you acquire a more holistic understanding of nursing.

“Through the BSN program, the ADN nurse will learn more about leadership roles and community health, which is all valuable knowledge when advancing in the nursing field,” Mancini says.

The curriculum is designed to sharpen your leadership skills and develop communication and problem-solving abilities that can help you excel in the workplace.

“Nurses who go back to school for their BSN learn the ‘Why?’ of what they are doing instead of just how to do it,” Carlson says. She finds these nurses have better assessment skills and know how to delegate, manage and develop others.


Nurse Practitioner Specializations: A Newcomer’s Guide

Nurse Practitioner It doesn’t take long for any patient who regularly interacts with a skilled nurse practitioner (NP) to acknowledge the critical role they play in healthcare. Across the country, NPs provide expert care to patients of all ages and backgrounds and are often a lifeline for underserved communities where access to quality care is limited.

Whether you’re an established registered nurse (RN) looking to move into an advanced practice role or are new to the healthcare field and exploring a potential career option, you likely have some questions about becoming a nurse practitioner.

One important and sometimes surprisingly complex subject to sort out is that of nurse practitioner specializations. In this article we’ll highlight why specialization matters, look at some of the common specialization options and answer other critical questions for you so that you can have that information before enrolling in a Nurse Practitioner program.

Why do nurse practitioners specialize?

Like physicians and other healthcare professionals, it’s common for nurse practitioners to focus their careers on working with a specific patient population or type of care. The human body—and treatments for all that potentially ail it—is an expansive and complex subject that can confound and surprise even the most experienced healthcare professionals. While all nurse practitioner programs provide strong foundations in generalist NP skills, narrowing the focus via a specialized program can help NPs who are invested in working with a specific patient population develop a deeper expertise for working with that group.

Even so, it’s still very common for NPs to pursue a specialization that leads to working with a broad patient population focus. Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference—some value the flexibility of a broader population, while others know that there’s a specific population that they’d prefer to work with. Either way, the specialization topic is one you’ll have to address sooner than later.

Unlike registered nurses who typically move into a specialty focus with relative ease after completing their formal education, new nurse practitioners often narrow their focus prior to (or during) their graduate studies. This means prospective NPs need to understand their options for specialization and carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of each.

What are some of the most common nurse practitioner specializations?

Generally, nurse practitioners align their practice with one of six patient populations or focus areas:

  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Among these specializations you may also find a dividing line between primary and acute care to accommodate the different skillsets and training needed to care for high- and low-acuity patients. This distinction will also have an important influence on where you can practice as an NP.


Nursing Burnout: Why It Happens and How to Avoid It

Nursing Burnout As a working parent, nobody has to tell you what stress feels like. You’ve juggled school with raising your family and work and managed to make it through just fine. But what if all that stress evolves into something bigger? A phenomenon in the healthcare community—nursing burnout—has become just that.

Everybody gets stressed out sometimes, but over a longer period of time, it can become burnout—in other words, emotional exhaustion and disengagement. Many nurses and nursing students can experience this feeling of burnout because of the rigor and intensity of their work or program. While nursing burnout may be a reality for some, it doesn’t have to define a nursing career.

Keep reading to learn more about nursing burnout and hear experts weigh in on why it happens. Learn how nursing burnout is affecting the healthcare community and take away tips on how you can avoid it.

What is nursing burnout?

You may be wondering, what does burnout mean? How do you define burnout?

Burnout is categorized as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. While stress is defined by over-engagement, burnout is defined by disengagement. Burnout can lead to dulled emotions and detachment. It undermines motivation, leaving a sense of hopelessness. For those experiencing burnout, every day is a bad day.

Burnout not only affects nurses, but also cascades onto the patients they care for. Studies show the link between nursing burnout and an increased likelihood of infections in patients. And hospitals with high burnout rates tend to have lower patient satisfaction overall. Nursing burnout isn’t something only healthcare professionals should worry about—it’s something that affects anyone ever receiving care in a hospital.

Why do nurses burn out?

There are several factors that contribute to nursing burnout. Most cases develop as a result of a combination of causes. Here are a few of the biggest culprits:

1. Long shifts

Many nurses cite their long hours as a main source of fatigue. Some nurses work long, 12-hour shifts. Others may find themselves putting in overtime or being called in when staffing is short. They may also have difficulty leaving on time when their shift is over. Working longer hours can result in greater fatigue and an increased chance of error in nursing. Long, tiring shifts contribute to burnout in nursing throughout a career.

2. Putting others first

Nurses are notoriously selfless—many feel it is their calling to care for others. However, nurses driven by a desire to care for others are actually more vulnerable to nursing burnout. When caring for patients, raising a family and working long, hectic hours, nurses can neglect their own needs. Over time, this can become a major cause of burnout in nursing.

3. Busy, high-stress environments

Nurses have a lot on their plates—and now more than ever. Nursing responsibilities have actually increased over the past 15 years due to advancements in technology and documentation.

The extensive workload can cause nurses to feel overwhelmed or experience a loss of control. Short-staffing in hospital settings makes for busier, more hectic days for nurses. The fast-paced workload can cause nurses to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Over time, this stress can lead to nursing burnout.

4. Coping with sickness and death

It’s hard for anyone to keep thoughts of the workday out of mind each night—but it’s even more difficult for nurses. Daily exposure to sick or dying patients can cause emotional baggage and grief to build over time and creep into personal lives. When getting attached to patients proves all too easy, nurses may face consistent loss with little time to decompress or grieve. These emotions can wear nurses down over time and cause burnout when they aren’t dealt with in a healthy manner.


5 Things they don’t tell you in the registered nurse job description

nurse Now that you have a better idea of the fundamental facts surrounding registered nursing jobs, it’s time to take a closer look at aspects of this role you might not find in a simple job description. We spoke with RNs across the country about their professional experience and found some unexpected aspects about the real life of a registered nurse.

1. The bond between RNs and patients can be strong

“The most surprising element of my job as a registered nurse is that my patients become part of my family,” says registered nurse and wellness blogger Awilla Rodriguez.

RNs provide critical care to patients throughout their course of treatment. In a hospital setting, this can mean several days building a close relationship with patients and their support systems. Listening to a patient’s family members not only builds a trusting relationship with patients, it can also provide insight into how to provide care.

“I get to meet a patient’s whole family and learn how to care for their specific needs,” Rodriguez says.

As an RN, you often step into peoples’ lives at a time of crisis. Those relationships can often last well beyond the time a patient spends in your care.

“I have had patients invite me to their weddings and even try to gift me with family heirlooms,” says RN Denna Babul. “I have even made life-long friends with patients I have treated.

2. You develop skills outside of healthcare

“You have to be a jack of all trades,” Babul states. “In a given day a nurse is a therapist dealing with family dynamics, a grief counselor who helps a patient or family begin to let go of what they have known and deal with new normals, an engineer fixing beds, sinks, IV poles, pumps, and wheelchairs, a mathematician calculating dosages, a crisis manager, a leader, and so much more.”

Medical care involves a lot of precise scientific knowledge, but the human element of healthcare means a good RN needs to adapt and improvise when things do not go as planned.

Nurses are asked to be leaders and administrators as well as their patients’ advocates within a complicated medical system. These demands create professionals whose skillsets cover fields far beyond medical procedural knowledge.

3. Your impact on patients’ lives goes beyond the clinic

A patient’s medical conditions can affect all parts of their life. It is no wonder that an RN’s work can touch on areas outside a patient’s medical treatment plan.

“Several moments after advocating for a family to get an adjusted school schedule,” says RN Amelia Roberts, “the mom said she was grateful that I was on her child’s side as an advocate. Other patients who we helped during trying teen years later have had children of their own and share baby pictures, stating how they loved the care we gave them.”

4. It is important to have a strong support system

Being an RN is an incredibly rewarding profession. But the pressure of being an essential part of a patient’s medical care can lead to burnout and chronic stress.

“It has been extremely helpful as an RN to have a mentor who I can consult and get guidance from regarding everything from industry pain points to professional career decisions,” says Julia Eze, RN and founder of The Nurse Link.

Many nurses utilize online forums to discuss issues or join professional networks. Strong relationships with other experienced nurses can provide guidance and social support through the rewards and challenges of a career as an RN.

5. Your educational journey might not end after nursing school

Though many RNs do not specialize, you may find as you gain experience in the field that you are drawn to a particular area of nursing. Given the incredible demand for clinical nurses such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, you may even choose to go back to school for an additional degree.

“Now more than ever, nurses are looking to go back to school for advanced practice,” says Eze.

The field of nursing is so large and dynamic, it is hard to know before you start nursing school where you will end up in ten years. You may find an unexpected passion working with premature infants or a knack for healthcare technology. An open mind to further opportunities within nursing could lead you to engaging and rewarding professional heights.

Do you have a future as a registered nurse?

Now that you know more about what goes into a registered nurse’s job description, are you interested in taking the next step toward becoming one? There’s plenty to learn while you’re in nursing school and it’s only natural if you’re a little concerned about whether or not you’ll be able to handle the challenges that come with it.


7 Nursing Courses You Can Expect While Earning Your ADN

nursing When it comes to considering an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN), it’s easy to jump to the end—the part where you’ve learned all the skills and are ready to start making a difference as a nurse. But what about all the nursing courses that get you to that point? What exactly will you learn in your ADN program?

We asked Dr. Lynn Bilder, School of Nursing director of curriculum and program quality at Rasmussen University, to get some insights on the Professional Nursing (ADN/RN) program. In this article, we’ll cover a few of the key nursing courses you’ll take on and highlight how they will help prepare you for this critical healthcare career.

Previewing Associate’s degree Nursing courses

From proper hand-washing techniques to more advanced medical interventions, you’ll learn a lot of important knowledge and skills in your nursing courses. While these are just a sample of all the required courses, they should give you an idea of what you can expect as you earn a Professional Nursing Associate’s degree.

1. Introduction to Nursing

This foundational course will introduce you to both the past and future of nursing. In this course, you’ll cover a nurse’s scope of practice, which outlines the procedures you can legally do as a licensed registered nurse. You’ll also examine standards of care and evidence-based nursing, which will inform what you’ll be responsible for in a clinical setting.

How will this course prepare me for my career? As a nurse, you will be one member of a larger healthcare team. Doctors, nurse practitioners, technicians, administrative staff and other nurses will depend on you to know your role and how it fits into the bigger picture. This course will lay a foundation of basic nursing skills and medical terminology to communicate more effectively with others.

2. Physical Assessment

This course will provide nursing students with the knowledge needed to assess patient conditions. This includes evaluation techniques and criteria for neurological, respiratory, musculoskeletal and vascular systems, among others.

How will this course prepare me for my career? It’s hard to help anyone if you don’t have a solid read on what might be going wrong. Knowing how to assess patients is a critical piece of being an effective nurse. Whether you’re just taking stock of a patient for the first time or evaluating how a long-term patient is progressing and responding to treatment, the ability to effectively physically assess a patient will be a big piece of your day-to-day work.

3. Multidimensional Care

In this two-part series of courses, you’ll learn how different diseases and conditions affect the body in complex ways. Musculoskeletal, immunologic and inflammatory factors can all impact the condition of a patient and how you care for them. Dr. Bilder points out that the range of possible factors is very wide.

“These [courses] provide the student the opportunity to integrate multidimensional factors into [their] nursing care,” she says, “These include not only physical aspects but also things like emotional, social, spiritual and nutritional needs, as well as providing culturally responsive care.”

How will these courses prepare me for my career?

No two patients are the same. While you might encounter the same broken wrist over and over, each person will have a different story, medical history, ways to communicate pain and more.

“Integrating these multidimensional aspects of care ensures a holistic approach to patient-centered care,” says Dr. Bilder.

In other words, multidimensional care is about recognizing the different factors that influence health and recovery—and how those factors vary from person to person. A greater knowledge of these factors allows you to be more effective in treating a patient overall.

4. Mental and Behavioral Health Nursing

Similar to multidimensional care, this course will help you identify the often-unseen psychological factors that influence patient health and outcomes. You’ll examine the effects of stress on patients and their families—as well as the complexities of caring for people with mental health disorders.

How will this course prepare me for my career?

As you encounter patients in your career, it’s important to understand the signs of mental health disorders and what you can do in response. In some cases, it’s as simple as taking more time to explain an IV to reassure a highly anxious patient. In other cases, you may have to involve an advanced-practice mental health professional. Either way, you’ll need to know when and how to address mental health as a nurse.

5. Pharmacology for Professional Nursing

In this course, you’ll learn more about the “how” and “why” behind the use of medication. You’ll study the principles of safely administering different forms of medication, including oral, topical and intravenous. You’ll also examine how each medication affects the body and appropriate interventions for each type of medication.

How will this course prepare me for my career?

As a nurse, you won’t prescribe medication, but you will administer it. You’ll also be responsible for educating patients on the purpose and potential side effects. In some cases, you’ll need to adjust the dosage of a medication based on the patient, such as insulin and blood glucose levels.

6. Leadership and Professional Identity

This course will explore both the personal and professional sides of leadership. It will also help you develop your professional identity. Dr. Bilder gives a preview of the concept:

“Professional Identity is an important aspect of nursing,” she says, “It focuses on the internalization of core values and perspectives that are essential components to the art and science of nursing.”

You’ll build confidence in your role and refine what it means to lead through evidence-based research. Analyzing successful agencies within the healthcare system will help you understand what leadership looks like in nursing.

How will this course prepare me for my career?

Being a leader is about more than your job title. Even as you begin your career as a nurse, you will need the leadership skills to make important decisions and advocate for your patients. Like any work environment, you’ll also need professionalism to navigate the hiring process, interact with your manager and communicate effectively as you advance in your role.

7. ADN Capstone

This course serves as the conclusion to your ADN program. You’ll tie together everything you’ve learned in your other classes, including holistic patient care, working on a healthcare team and understanding your role as a nurse. One of the ways you’ll demonstrate your learning is creating a patient care plan that incorporates the physical, emotional and social health of a patient.

How will this course prepare me for my career?

As you begin to pursue nursing positions, you’ll be able to show employers that you’ve done more than just read about being a nurse. You’ve practiced your skills in a clinical setting and have completed real-world projects that show your knowledge. You’ll have a deep understanding of critical topics and a broad appreciation of how they work together.


A Closer Look at the Role of a Respiratory Nurse

respiratory nurse Taking a deep breath might seem simple. You even do it in your sleep. However, respiration—bringing oxygen into your body and removing carbon dioxide—is a complex process that requires many physiological components working perfectly in unison.

When something goes wrong with the respiratory system, the effects can be debilitating or even fatal. Without proper respiration, a person will die in a matter of minutes. Medical advancements continue to make breakthroughs to support the quality of life for those who suffer from chronic and acute respiratory conditions. One essential part of the effort to treat respiratory conditions is the job of a healthcare professional known as a respiratory nurse.

Respiratory nurses, sometimes called pulmonary nurses, have advanced training and experience working with individuals impacted by respiratory conditions. If you are interested in a dynamic and meaningful specialty within nursing, take a moment to look closer at the role of a respiratory nurse.

What is a respiratory nurse?

A respiratory nurse is a specialized type of registered nurse who treats patients battling conditions that effect the respiratory system. The respiratory system is divided into the upper tract (above the vocal chords) and the lower tract (below the vocal chords). The upper tract includes areas such as your nose, sinuses, and larynx while the lower tract contains the lungs, bronchi, and alveoli. The human respiratory system is an intricate and resilient machine. However, when something goes wrong with this complex physiological system, patients need immediate, and sometimes lifelong, care.

Respiratory nurses have advanced training in the respiratory system. Some common respiratory illnesses they may encounter include asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. Respiratory nurses may help a patient in a critical care situation or help them maintain or improve quality of life while battling a chronic condition.

Respiratory nurses will also play a big role in treating patients with COVID-19. While there’s still much to be learned about the virus and how it affects patients, respiratory issues similar to pneumonia have become a common calling card of severe cases—and those issues will often require intensive respiratory rehabilitation work.

What are common respiratory nurse job duties?

Respiratory nurses have an enormous body of knowledge in a particularly complex area of medicine. Common duties range from conducting interviews and diagnostic testing, to administering treatments such as oxygen therapy, to assisting and collaborating with physicians, respiratory therapists, and other healthcare professionals.

An important part of a respiratory nurse’s work involves working directly with patients and their families to educate about respiratory health. For chronic conditions such as asthma, patients and their families need the tools and education to manage the condition day-to-day. A respiratory nurse can provide critical care in an emergency, but they also help patients learn how to monitor and live with respiratory conditions.

Often respiratory nurses will work with patients who are receiving oxygen treatments or are dependent on ventilators to stay alive. RNs working within this specialization will need to be intimately familiar with key equipment, be aware of trouble signs like cold fingers and extremities in patients and know where to turn for next steps if a patient’s status takes a turn for the worse.


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.


Everything You Need to Know About Critical Care Nursing

critical care A few years ago, when you heard the word “hero” you first thought might have been about someone in a cape. These days, we know many of our heroes wear scrubs. If you want to make a difference in the world and in your community, consider the role of a critical care nurse. Critical care nurses work with people fighting life threatening medical emergencies. Their hard work and passion has an enormous impact on patients as well as their loved ones.

But what does a critical care nurse actually do day to day? What does it take to become a critical care nurse? We’ve put together an outline of everything you need to know about critical care nursing. Whether you are already in nursing school considering a specialty, or just beginning to think about a future in healthcare, take a few minutes to explore critical care nursing, a profession with unique boots-on-the-ground impact on people in some of their biggest moments of crisis.

What is a critical care nurse?

Critical care nurses are registered nurses (RNs) that treat patients with acute and serious illnesses or injuries. The term “critical” is used by healthcare providers to communicate broadly about the severity of a patient’s condition. Typically, a patient that requires “critical care” has unstable vital signs, may be unconscious, and has unfavorable indicators for a positive health outcome. In less technical language, “critical care” is given to patients who are at a significantly higher risk of not surviving their illness or injury.

Critical care nurses have been specially trained to handle these emergency care situations. They provide both important medical care and monitoring, as well as support to patients and their families. Critical care nurses work in a very high stress environment in a dynamic and highly important role.

“Critical care nurses are tasked with some of the highest responsibilities in the profession of nursing,” explains Nicholas McGowan, a nursing educator at Critical Care Academy and experienced intensive care unit (ICU) nurse. “This is where the greatest breadth of knowledge, competency, and skill are required in order to keep the patient alive and comfortable with their dignity intact.”

Where do critical care nurses work?

Critical care nurses work in many locations—but you’ll primarily find them in a hospital setting. Many critical care nurses work in a hospital’s general ICU, but emergency departments, neonatal ICUs, pediatric ICUs, cardiac care units, telemetry units, managed care facilities, urgent care clinics, outpatient surgery centers and recovery rooms may also require specially trained critical care nurses.

Critical care nurses may specialize in adult critical care, pediatric critical care, or geriatric critical care depending on which patient population they want to work with.