The employment field for registered nurses is growing by a huge percentage. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for registered nurses is expected to grow by 12% in the years from 2018 to 2028.
This growth will occur for a number of reasons. The demand for overall healthcare services is going to increase as the aging population grows, given that older people usually have more medical issues than younger people. Nurses will be needed to care for and to educate patients who have chronic conditions, such as dementia, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.
In addition to that, more and more patients are going for home healthcare facilities for long-term medical attention.
If you think you have what it takes to succeed as a registered nurse, then the following guide will be of great use to you. It lists down the steps to become a registered nurse, along with information on the salary and job duties of this occupation.
What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
Registered Nurses (RNs) are trained medical professionals in-charge of providing and coordinating patient care, educating patients and the public about different health concerns and providing emotional support to patients and their families.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a list of duties that are typically performed by Registered Nurses:
Assessing the condition of the patients
Recording the medical histories of patients
Observing patients and recording the observations
Creating and administering treatment plans
Consulting with other healthcare personnel
Operating and monitoring medical equipment
Performing diagnostic tests and analyzing the results
In order to become a registered nurse, candidates will have to meet certain requirements.
Steps to Become a Registered Nurse
Step 1: Complete a Nursing Program
In order to become a registered nurse, students have to complete an accredited program. Several options are available – nursing diplomas, associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. A diploma or an associate’s degree would take 2-3 years to complete, while a bachelor’s degree would take four years of time. Typical coursework in these programs would include nursing leadership and management, anatomy, biology, informatics and health assessment.
Step 2: Get Some Clinical Experience
In order to graduate from a nursing program, students must complete a certain number of hours of clinical work. Students typically train in clinical settings, such as hospitals or health centers, under the guidance of experienced nursing facilities.
Step 3: Get a License
All states require registered nurses to be licensed to practice legally. Candidates are required to clear the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. To qualify for this exam, candidates must have a degree from an accredited nursing program and should satisfy all of their state’s application requirements.
Step 4: Complete Continuing Education Requirements
In order to retain their license, many states require RNs to complete continuing education credits. The exact number of hours needed for this is different for every state. Potential options for earning continuing education could include a professional certification in a nursing field, medical research projects or accredited online courses.
Step 5: Look for Advancement Options
Becoming an RN may lead to career advancement options with additional training, experience and education. For instance, students can go for a Master of Science in Nursing, which can prepare RNs for management or teaching roles. Nurses can also specialize in areas such as pediatric or geriatric nursing through additional credentials. Other than that, registered nurses can become advanced practice nurses, such as clinical nurse specialists.
How Much Does a Registered Nurse Earn?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median income for Registered Nurses in 2019 was $73,300. The salary outlook varies according to location and industry. The top paying industry was Business Support Services, with an annual mean wage of $92,200, followed by the Federal Executive Branch, which paid an annual mean wage of $90,340. Other top paying industries were Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing, Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing and Traveler Accommodation.
The top paying state for Registered Nurses was California, with an annual mean wage of $113,240. This was followed by Hawaii, which paid $104,060, District of Columbia, which paid $94,820, Massachusetts, which paid $93,160 and Oregon, which paid $92,960.