A registered nurse (RN) may be employed in a variety of medical settings, including physicians' offices, schools, hospitals, prison settings, and assisted living facilities/nursing homes. RNs provide direct care to patients under the order and supervision of a licensed prescriber (physician, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant). Daily activities of a nurse may include receiving a patient assignment, assessment of each patient, administering daily medications, attending to patient needs, facilitating patient, family and physician communication, assisting the physician with bedside procedures, monitoring laboratory results, delivering meals and snacks as needed, and monitoring for any changes in condition. The RN creates a daily care plan to manage patient care. The RN may also supervise ancillary staff. Attention to detail and organization is key. The RN must keep meticulous medical records, and may be required to use computers for charting. Health care promotion and education is also a key role of the RN. To become employed as a RN, one must complete a minimum of a 2-year degree in nursing, pass a national nursing certification exam (NCLEX) and become licensed as a registered nurse in the state of residence. Employers show preference to those with a 4-year nursing degree. Specialty areas of nursing (such as critical care, labor and delivery, etc.) may require additional certifications and training. The schedule of an RN varies based on employment location. Hospital-based nurses generally work a total of 3 twelve-hour shifts per week. Office-based nurses work 5-day, 40-hour weeks. Overtime is occasionally required. Shifts for hospital-based RNs can include nights, weekends, and holidays. The RN role may include heavy lifting of patients, exposure to bodily fluids, and large amounts of time on one's feet. With the new health care laws, careers as an RN are in high demand as access to medical care increases.
Registered Nurse (RN) Tasks
- Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients.
- Advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management.
- Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records.