If you are looking for a varied career with great future prospects which enables you to help people, then becoming a registered nurse could be the answer. There are several different routes into the nursing profession, and within the career, there is a great deal of variety in terms of the competencies required. It also brings about the prospect of different levels of management and responsibility to aim for. A registered nurse (RN) will provide care for people of all backgrounds and ages as well as promote healthy living and wellbeing in the community. It’s a challenging career that requires a high level of intelligence, a capacity for critical thinking and excellent interpersonal skills and empathy.
If being a registered nurse sounds like a career for you, here is the information you need to get started on your journey.
What does a registered nurse do?
It can be difficult to define the exact responsibilities of a registered nurse as much depends on the environment you work in and any specializations you choose in your career. Possible healthcare facilities you could work within include hospitals, doctor’s practices, occupational health, mental health, hospices, military facilities, schools, and managed care facilities.
A registered nurse may administer medication, monitor and observe a patient’s condition, keep detailed records and work with doctors and other healthcare professionals. There are plenty of specializations available, including critical care, gerontology, pediatrics, neonatology, cardiology, orthopedics, neuroscience and gynecology. It’s also possible to work as a traveling nurse and visit a variety of facilities or even travel the world delivering care where it is most needed.
How to enter the nursing profession
The entry-level qualification for becoming a Registered Nurse is an associate’s degree in nursing also known as an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing.
Once you have achieved your associate’s degree and have become a Registered Nurse, you may choose to study further for a bachelor’s degree in nursing and even progress on to a master’s degree if you wish. You can complete these qualifications while working as a nurse to open up more career opportunities down the line.
What’s involved in training to be a registered nurse?
Training to be a nurse requires a high level of commitment as the curriculum, coursework and practical experience can be challenging. Nursing students need to be focused and disciplined in their approach to studying.
Modules involved in the training can include pharmacology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, acute care and nutrition, as well as medical and surgical nursing. When the training and coursework is complete, you will need to pass the RN-NCLEX examination before you are licensed to practice as a registered nurse in your state.
In terms of personal and professional qualities, a registered nurse should have a natural desire to want to help others, excellent communication skills, and a commitment to continue learning throughout their career. Nurses also need to be aware of and compliant with legal, moral and ethical standards.
Employment prospects for Registered Nurses
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the nursing field will continue to grow at a rate of 12% through to 2028, which is a lot higher than the average occupation. This is because of the growing demand for healthcare for the baby boom generation, an increased focus on preventative care and the increasing rates of chronic conditions.