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What does a Registered Nurse do?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), the U.S. Department of Labor’s principal fact- finding agency for the federal government in the field of labor, economics, and statistics that provides data on employment and wages, Registered Nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families.
Registered nurses typically do the following:
- Assess patients’ conditions
- Record patients’ medical histories and symptoms
- Observe patients and record the observations
- Administer patients’ medicines and treatments
- Set up plans for patients’ care or contribute information to existing plans
- Consult and collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals
- Operate and monitor medical equipment
- Help perform diagnostic tests and analyze the results
- Teach patients and their families how to manage illnesses or injuries
- Explain what to do at home after treatment
Most registered nurses work as part of a team with physicians and other healthcare specialists. Some registered nurses oversee licensed practical nurses, nursing assistants, and home health aides.
Registered nurses’ duties and titles often depend on where they work and the patients they work with. For example, an oncology nurse works with cancer patients and a geriatric nurse works with elderly patients. Some registered nurses combine one or more areas of practice. For example, a pediatric oncology nurse works with children and teens who have cancer.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
How much does a Registered Nurse get paid?*
According to BLS, the median annual wage for registered nurses was $77,600 in May 2021.
The top 10% of earners made more than $120,250, and the bottom 10% of Registered Nurses earned less than $59,450.
These numbers may vary based on geography and labor market.
*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
Best-paying states for Registered Nurses**
According to the BLS, the highest annual median salaries for registered nurses are in California ($124,000), Hawaii ($106,530), and Oregon ($98,630).
**Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”). Data as of March 2022
Interested in becoming a Registered Nurse?
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Job Outlook for Registered Nurses***
Employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 9 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
About 194,500 openings for registered nurses are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
***Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
Registered Nurse job skills and knowledge
According to O*NET Resource Center, people in this career often have these skills:
- Social Perceptiveness – Understanding people’s reactions.
- Active Listening – Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
- Service Orientation – Looking for ways to help people.
- Speaking – Talking to others.
- Reading Comprehension – Reading work-related information.
- Critical Thinking – Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
- Coordination – Changing what is done based on other people’s actions.
- Medicine and Dentistry – Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- Customer and Personal Service – Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Source: O*NET Resource Center