What does a registered nurse do? Your professional guide for 2023 (2023)



What does a registered nurse do? Your professional guide for 2023

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Registered nurses work in a variety of settings to provide healthcare to patients and support physicians. Find out more about this highly sought-after job.

What does a registered nurse do? Your professional guide for 2023 (1)

Registered Nurses (RNs) provide patient care and support other healthcare professionals, such as B. Physicians, in their work to improve patient outcomes. RNs represent the largest group of health care workers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. [1]. Because the job is in such high demand, those who complete nursing programs can usually be assured of competitive wages and job security.

In this article, you'll learn more about registered nurses, what they do, their salary and career prospects, and how you can become one. You'll also end up exploring affordable online courses that can help you gain job-relevant skills today.

What is a Registered Nurse?

A registered nurse provides and coordinates patient care in hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, schools, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. As a nurse, you will also support doctors and other healthcare professionals and communicate with patients' families about their progress.

While your exact responsibilities will likely vary from day to day, some of the most common duties you are likely to perform as an RN include:

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  • drug delivery

  • dressing wounds

  • Monitoring of vital signs

  • Insertion of intravenous (IV) catheters

  • Creating a care plan

  • Documentation of patient information

  • Preparing patients for discharge

  • Educate patients and their families about various diseases and treatments.

Registered nurses can work with patients from all walks of life. You can give birth or work with the elderly, or you can provide first aid or help treat serious illnesses.

Regardless of their differences, the American Nurses Association states that there is a single five component process that all registered nurses follow [2]:

1. Rating:Gather information about a patient's physical and mental health, as well as useful background information.

2. Diagnose:Use your clinical knowledge to make judgments about actual or potential health needs.

3. Result/planning:Based on the assessment and diagnosis, set goals for the patient and create a treatment plan.

4. Implementation:Document the care plan in the patient record to ensure continuity of care.

5. Rating:Assess the patient's response to the treatment plan and make any necessary changes.

Where do registered nurses work?

Registered nurses work in almost all types of medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and doctor's offices.

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What does a registered nurse do? Your professional guide for 2023 (2)

RN salary and job prospects

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), on average, a registered nurse in the United States can expect to earn $77,600 annually. Nurses working in government agencies or hospitals typically earn at the higher end of the pay scale [3].

Registered nurses are projected to see 6 percent job growth between 2021 and 2031, resulting in approximately 203,200 job openings per year over the decade [3].

Skills required to become an RN

If you enjoy working closely with people and are passionate about helping others, a career in nursing could be for you. Successful RNs often share a common job and technical skills.

Technical skills:

  • Monitoring and Monitoring of Vital Signs:Registered nurses must be able to monitor blood pressure, pulse, temperature and respiratory rate. It is also important to know what the normal ranges are for each specific type of patient.

  • Basic Nursing Skills:This may include dressing a wound, inserting a catheter, or drawing blood.

  • Safety and well-being of the patient:RNs work hard to ensure patient safety. This could include getting a patient from the bed to the bathroom without falling, or keeping the room hygienic so there is no risk of infection.

  • Comfort with technology:Whether you access patient records with a computer or use a monitor to review vital signs, you may need to resort to technology. Being an expert in equipment and systems is a key skill for caregivers.

  • Medication administration:Giving a patient the wrong medication can have serious consequences. You need to know how to count and identify medicines and understand what they are for.

Workplace Skills:

  • Communication:You work continuously with other people, including patients, doctors, and family members of patients. Since you usually care for people who are sick or in pain, you may need to remain calm when a patient is upset or angry. You must be able to listen and provide information in a way that the patient can understand, including understanding body language.

  • Guide:As an RN, you have the opportunity to set a positive example for those around you. They may also be responsible for administrationnursing assistantsand other employees.

  • Flexibility:You never know what kind of patient will walk through the door or when a current patient's condition will change. Be ready to respond to any situation that arises.

  • resilience:Nurses working in an emergency room or intensive care unit must be able to deal with stressful situations, but any registered nurse may encounter a patient whose life is threatened by an injury or illness. Must be able to think critically and react to stressful situations in a timely manner.

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  • Cooperation and teamwork:Throughout your career, you're likely to meet doctors, therapists, nursing assistants, office managers, and many others who all share the same goal: healthy patients. Being able to collaborate on a care plan will provide the best outcome for your patients.

Registered Nurse Jobs: Types of RNs

Registered nurses work in many areas of medicine. This gives you the flexibility to choose a career based on your medical interests. These are the guys you could be if you decide to take this path.

Registered Nurse-TypWhat are you doing
Trained Cardiac NurseCaring for patients with heart problems, including patients recovering from heart surgery.
Certified Intensive Care NurseCaring for patients in critical condition, e.g. B. Patients on life support or with serious wounds or injuries.
Qualified Dialysis NurseMonitoring dialysis treatment in patients with renal failure.
Registered Nurse in the Emergency DepartmentI worked in a fast-paced ER, evaluating and stabilizing patients with a variety of ailments.
geriatric nurseProvide basic care to the elderly
Registered Midwifery NurseTake care of pregnant women during pregnancy and childbirth.
Registered Nurse in OncologyWork with cancer patients to manage symptoms, provide education, and deliver treatments.
Orthopedic NurseCaring for patients with injuries and diseases of the joints and bones.
pediatric nurseProvide primary health care for babies, children and young people.

How to become a registered nurse

Many registered nurses go tonursing schoolto learn the basics of being a nurse. You can hold onelevel of careB. ein Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) oder ein Associate of Nursing (ADN) Degree.

There are also some hospital-based programs that allow you to earn a nursing diploma in a year or two. Upon graduation, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam and meet all other requirements in the state where you wish to practice.

Continue reading:How to become a Registered Nurse (RN)

RN Career Path

Once you become a registered nurse, you have many paths to choose from.

You can choose a specialty, such as intensive care medicine or geriatrics. You can work in a fast-paced emergency room or a laid-back family doctor's office. You can work in a school, a nursing home, or with a home care program. There are a variety of routes to becoming a registered nurse, so take the time to find the route that best fits your goals and personality type.

Please note that you may need to continue taking courses and continue your education to retain your license.

If you decide to advance your career, you can become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). This usually requires earning a master's degree in nursing. TONurseis an APRN who has received a master's degree plus training in a specialty. There are four types of APRN:

  • Certified Nurse Midwives

  • Registered Nurses

  • Certified naturopaths

  • registered certificatenurse anesthetist

Continue reading: Your guide to nursing degrees and certifications

Get started with Coursera

Are you ready to explore one of today's most in-demand and exciting careers? Start with nursing education courses at some of the best universities in the world. Options include the University of PennsylvaniaVital Functions: Understanding what the body is telling usand the University of ColoradoMedical Emergencies: Respiratory, Respiratory and Circulatory.

If you're already a registered nurse, you should consider expanding your current education by taking courses that cover some of the latest topics that have impacted the medical field, such as:COVID-19 contact tracing for nursesfrom the University of Houston or the University of MinnesotaSpecialization Nursing Informatics Management.

What does a registered nurse do? Your professional guide for 2023 (3)


Vital Functions: Understanding what the body is telling us

Vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate and pain) convey important information about the physiological state...


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Pain assessment, metabolic pathways, vital signs, pain management

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This content is provided for informational purposes only. Students are encouraged to do additional research to ensure that the courses and other qualifications earned meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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