Registered Nursing

Nurse ER

Registered nursing combines science, critical thinking, technology, and compassion to provide high-quality care to people who are ill or healthy, young or old. Registered nurses (RNs) provide holistic care that includes patients’ physical, mental, social, and emotional needs, promoting health and coordinating care as essential members of the interprofessional healthcare team. In an increasingly complex healthcare environment, RNs must assess patient conditions,  interpret patient information, and analyze data to make critical clinical decisions. 

Education

To become an RN, you must attend a college or university. Nursing education is rigorous and requires an aptitude for math and science. Prerequisite coursework includes chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, psychology, sociology, math, statistics, and communication skills. Generally, admission into nursing programs is competitive. There are two-degree options: an Associate’s Degree (ASN, ADN, or AD) and a Baccalaureate Degree (BSN). Graduates of both ASN and BSN programs are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX), which you must pass for licensure as a registered nurse.

Accreditation

For future employment and educational opportunities, consider whether your nursing program is accredited by one of three nationally recognized nursing accrediting bodies. Accreditation means high-quality education and training, setting you up for success as a nurse.  Many employers require graduation from a fully accredited program as part of their employment policies. Accreditation also helps to ensure that your course credits will transfer, should you decide to pursue further nursing education.

Beginning Clinical Role

Most new RNs begin as staff nurses, utilizing clinical judgment and critical thinking to provide quality patient care to individuals and families in hospitals or extended care facilities. New nurses may spend up to a year sharpening their clinical judgment, skills, and critical thinking.  Many new graduates participate in nurse residency programs that include providing support and mentoring by experienced RNs.

Clinical Areas 

The explosion of medical science and technology has produced an abundance of specialty and sub-specialty areas of nursing practice. Clinical areas include medical-surgical, operating room, critical care, emergency, maternal-child, pediatric, gerontology, psychiatric/mental health, rehabilitation, and public health.  Although RNs often begin their careers providing bedside care for patients in hospitals, professional nurses also work in clinics, rehabilitative facilities, extended care facilities, critical care transport, homes and schools.

Speciality Certification

Many RNs discover a clinical area that they find particularly fulfilling and pursue specialty certification. Specialty certification signifies personal growth and professional achievement; it also contributes to career advancement.

Advanced Nursing Roles and Graduate Education

RNs have a variety of exciting options for advanced roles with a master’s or doctorate degree. Evolving healthcare practices and medical knowledge have led to increased authority and specialization within the nursing profession. Because of this, the need for nurses with graduate degrees is rapidly growing. Advanced roles in nursing continue to expand as healthcare becomes more complex, with nurses assuming new roles and responsibilities.

 Here are some advanced roles you might consider:

NP

Advanced Practice Nurses

Advanced practice nurses (APRNs) provide specialized and highly skilled advanced nursing care to patients and families. APRN roles include nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist and nurse-midwife.

Nursing education

Nurse Educators

Nurse Educators teach in colleges, universities, clinical settings, and the community. They write and develop teaching materials for nursing education courses, conduct research, and prepare the next generation of nurses.

female executive

Nurse Administrators

Nurse Administrators are leaders in healthcare environments such as hospitals, and primary care offices.   Nurse administrators work collaboratively with the entire healthcare team to manage resources and drive healthcare change to ensure evidence-based quality patient care.

Nurse educator

Nurse Scientists

Nurse Scientists are researchers who use the scientific process to develop new nursing knowledge and information. Research in nursing is important due to the rapidly changing healthcare environment, technological advances, and the demand for proficiency in clinical and administrative areas.

“When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.”

– Unknown