Occupation Profile for Registered Nurses

Assess patient health problems and needs, develop and implement nursing care plans, and maintain medical records. Administer nursing care to ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. May advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management. Licensing or registration required. Includes advance practice nurses such as: nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Advanced practice nursing is practiced by RNs who have specialized formal, post-basic education and who function in highly autonomous and specialized roles.

 
 

Significant Points

  • Registered nurses constitute the largest health care occupation, with 2.5 million jobs.
  • About 59 percent of jobs are in hospitals.
  • The three major educational paths to registered nursing are a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, and a diploma from an approved nursing program.
  • Registered nurses are projected to generate about 587,000 new jobs over the 2006-16 period, one of the largest numbers among all occupations; overall job opportunities are expected to be excellent, but may vary by employment setting.

 

 
 
Overview
$57,280.00 Median Annual Wage 100,000 Average Job Openings Per Year
1.1 Average Unemployment Percentage 1.0 Percentage That Completed High School
2,000 Employment Numbers in 2006 42.7 Percentage That Had Some College
3,000 Employment Numbers in 2016 (est.) 56.2 Percentage That Went Beyond College Degree

Sample Job Titles
Ambulatory Care Coordinator
Anesthesiologist Nurse
Associate Director of Nursing (ADON)
Cardiac Care Unit Nurse (CCU Nurse)
Central Supply Nurse
Certified Childbirth Educator (CCE)
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Charge Nurse
Circulating Nurse
Clinical Nurse
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Clinical Supervisor
Community Health Nurse
Consulting Nurse
Coronary Care Unit Nurse (CCU Nurse)
County Nurse
Critical Care Unit Nurse (CCU Nurse)
Director of Nursing (DON)
Discharge Planner
Emergency Department RN (Emergency Department Registered Nurse)
Emergency Room Nurse
Emergency Room Registered Nurse (ER RN)
Endoscopy RN (Endoscopy Registered Nurse)
Family Nurse Practitioner
Flight Nurse
Forensic Nurse
General Duty Nurse
Geriatric Care Manager
Geriatric Nurse
Head Nurse
Health Care Coordinator
Hospice Nurse
Industrial Nurse
Industrial Registered Nurse
Industrial Staff Nurse
Intensive Care Unit Nurse
Labor and Delivery Nurse
Lactation Consultant
Legal Nurse Consultant
Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LNP)
Life Care Planner
Maternity Nurse
Medical/Surgery Registered Nurse (Med/Surg RN)
Mid Wife
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse (NICU Nurse)
Neonatal Nurse
Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse Case Manager
Nurse Clinician
Nurse Consultant
Nurse Coordinator
Nurse Educator
Nurse Manager
Nurse Midwife
Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Receptionist
Nurse Supervisor, Community Health Nursing
Nurse Supervisor, Evening or Night
Nurse Supervisor, Occupational Health Nursing
Nurse, Community Health
Nurse, Consultant
Nurse, General Duty
Nurse, Head
Nurse, Infection Control
Nurse, Private Duty
Nurse, School
Nurse, Supervisor
OB/GYN Nurse (Obstetrics/Gynecology Nurse)
Obstetrical Nurse
Obstetrics Nurse (OB Nurse)
Obstetrics Scrub Nurse (OB Scrub Nurse)
Occupational Health Nurse
Occupational Nurse
Oncology RN (Oncology Registered Nurse)
Operating Room Nurse
Operating Room Registered Nurse (OR RN)
Patient Care Coordinator
Pediatric Nurse
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Pediatrics RN (Pediatrics Registered Nurse)
Perianesthesia Nurse
Perinatal Nurse
Physical Therapy Nurse
Post Anesthesia Care Unit Nurse (PACU Nurse)
Post Anesthesia Room Nurse
Prenatal Nurse
Private Duty Nurse, Registered
Psychiatric Nurse
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Public Health Nurse
Public Health Staff Nurse
Receptionist Nurse
Recovery Room Nurse
Registered Health Nurse
Registered Nurse (RN)
Registered Nurse Midwife
Registered Nurse Supervisor
Registered Nurse, Certified (RNC)
Registered Public Health Nurse
Relief Charge Nurse
RN BSN (Registered Nurse Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
RN Case Manager (Registered Nurse Case Manager)
Scrub Nurse
Special Duty Nurse
Staff Nurse
Staff RN (Staff Registered Nurse)
Student Nurse
Supervisor, Delivery Room
Supervisor, Floor
Supervisor, Health Unit
Supervisor, Maternity Floor
Supervisor, Nurses
Supervisor, Operating Room
Supervisor, Surgical
Supervisor, Ward
Surgical First Assistant
Surgical Nurse
Technician, Nurse
Transverse Abdominal Muscle Nurse (TRAM Nurse)
Trauma Nurse
Traveling Nurse
Triage Nurse
Visiting Nurse
Ward Nurse
X Ray Nurse

Training
  • These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include funeral directors, electricians, forest and conservation technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
  • Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree. Some may require a bachelor's degree.
  • Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
  • Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers.

The three major educational paths to registered nursing are a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree, and a diploma from an approved nursing program. Nurses most commonly enter the occupation by completing an associate degree or bachelor’s degree program. Individuals then must complete a national licensing examination in order to obtain a nursing license. Further training or education can qualify nurses to work in specialty areas, and may help improve advancement opportunities.

Education and training. There are three major educational paths to registered nursing—a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and a diploma. BSN programs, offered by colleges and universities, take about 4 years to complete. In 2006, 709 nursing programs offered degrees at the bachelor’s level. ADN programs, offered by community and junior colleges, take about 2 to 3 years to complete. About 850 RN programs granted associate degrees. Diploma programs, administered in hospitals, last about 3 years. Only about 70 programs offered diplomas. Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of educational programs qualify for entry-level positions.

Many RNs with an ADN or diploma later enter bachelor’s programs to prepare for a broader scope of nursing practice. Often, they can find an entry-level position and then take advantage of tuition reimbursement benefits to work toward a BSN by completing an RN-to-BSN program. In 2006, there were 629 RN-to-BSN programs in the United States. Accelerated master’s degree in nursing (MSN) programs also are available by combining 1 year of an accelerated BSN program with 2 years of graduate study. In 2006, there were 149 RN-to-MSN programs.

Accelerated BSN programs also are available for individuals who have a bachelor’s or higher degree in another field and who are interested in moving into nursing. In 2006, 197 of these programs were available. Accelerated BSN programs last 12 to 18 months and provide the fastest route to a BSN for individuals who already hold a degree. MSN programs also are available for individuals who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree in another field.

Individuals considering nursing should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in a BSN or MSN program because, if they do, their advancement opportunities usually are broader. In fact, some career paths are open only to nurses with a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A bachelor’s degree often is necessary for administrative positions and is a prerequisite for admission to graduate nursing programs in research, consulting, and teaching, and all four advanced practice nursing specialties—clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners. Individuals who complete a bachelor’s receive more training in areas such as communication, leadership, and critical thinking, all of which are becoming more important as nursing care becomes more complex. Additionally, bachelor’s degree programs offer more clinical experience in nonhospital settings. Education beyond a bachelor’s degree can also help students looking to enter certain fields or increase advancement opportunities. In 2006, 448 nursing schools offered master’s degrees, 108 offered doctoral degrees, and 58 offered accelerated BSN-to-doctoral programs.

All four advanced practice nursing specialties require at least a master’s degree. Most programs include about 2 years of full-time study and require a BSN degree for entry; some programs require at least 1 to 2 years of clinical experience as an RN for admission. In 2006, there were 342 master’s and post-master’s programs offered for nurse practitioners, 230 master’s and post-master’s programs for clinical nurse specialists, 106 programs for nurse anesthetists, and 39 programs for nurse-midwives.

All nursing education programs include classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other health care facilities. Students take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other behavioral sciences, and nursing. Coursework also includes the liberal arts for ADN and BSN students.

Supervised clinical experience is provided in hospital departments such as pediatrics, psychiatry, maternity, and surgery. A growing number of programs include clinical experience in nursing care facilities, public health departments, home health agencies, and ambulatory clinics.

Licensure and certification. In all States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, students must graduate from an approved nursing program and pass a national licensing examination, known as the NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a nursing license. Nurses may be licensed in more than one State, either by examination or by the endorsement of a license issued by another State. The Nurse Licensure Compact Agreement allows a nurse who is licensed and permanently resides in one of the member States to practice in the other member States without obtaining additional licensure. In 2006, 20 states were members of the Compact, while 2 more were pending membership. All States require periodic renewal of licenses, which may require continuing education.

Certification is common, and sometimes required, for the four advanced practice nursing specialties—clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners. Upon completion of their educational programs, most advanced practice nurses become nationally certified in their area of specialty. Certification also is available in specialty areas for all nurses. In some States, certification in a specialty is required in order to practice that specialty.

Foreign-educated and foreign-born nurses wishing to work in the United States must obtain a work visa. To obtain the visa, nurses must undergo a federal screening program to ensure that their education and licensure are comparable to that of a U.S. educated nurse, that they have proficiency in written and spoken English, and that they have passed either the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) Qualifying Examination or the NCLEX-RN. CGFNS administers the VisaScreen Program. (The Commission is an immigration-neutral, nonprofit organization that is recognized internationally as an authority on credentials evaluation in the health care field.) Nurses educated in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, or foreign-born nurses who were educated in the United States, are exempt from the language proficiency testing. In addition to these national requirements, foreign-born nurses must obtain state licensure in order to practice in the United States. Each State has its own requirements for licensure.

Other qualifications. Nurses should be caring, sympathetic, responsible, and detail oriented. They must be able to direct or supervise others, correctly assess patients’ conditions, and determine when consultation is required. They need emotional stability to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.

Advancement. Some RNs start their careers as licensed practical nurses or nursing aides, and then go back to school to receive their RN degree. Most RNs begin as staff nurses in hospitals, and with experience and good performance often move to other settings or are promoted to more responsible positions. In management, nurses can advance from assistant unit manger or head nurse to more senior-level administrative roles of assistant director, director, vice president, or chief nurse. Increasingly, management-level nursing positions require a graduate or an advanced degree in nursing or health services administration. Administrative positions require leadership, communication and negotiation skills, and good judgment.

Some nurses move into the business side of health care. Their nursing expertise and experience on a health care team equip them to manage ambulatory, acute, home-based, and chronic care. Employers—including hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and managed care organizations, among others—need RNs for health planning and development, marketing, consulting, policy development, and quality assurance. Other nurses work as college and university faculty or conduct research.

Nature of Work

Registered nurses (RNs), regardless of specialty or work setting, treat patients, educate patients and the public about various medical conditions, and provide advice and emotional support to patients’ family members. RNs record patients’ medical histories and symptoms, help perform diagnostic tests and analyze results, operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, and help with patient follow-up and rehabilitation.

RNs teach patients and their families how to manage their illness or injury, explaining post-treatment home care needs; diet, nutrition, and exercise programs; and self-administration of medication and physical therapy. Some RNs work to promote general health by educating the public on warning signs and symptoms of disease. RNs also might run general health screening or immunization clinics, blood drives, and public seminars on various conditions.

When caring for patients, RNs establish a plan of care or contribute to an existing plan. Plans may include numerous activities, such as administering medication, including careful checking of dosages and avoiding interactions; starting, maintaining, and discontinuing intravenous (IV) lines for fluid, medication, blood, and blood products; administering therapies and treatments; observing the patient and recording those observations; and consulting with physicians and other health care clinicians. Some RNs provide direction to licensed practical nurses and nursing aids regarding patient care. RNs with advanced educational preparation and training may perform diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and may have prescriptive authority.

RNs can specialize in one or more areas of patient care. There generally are four ways to specialize. RNs can choose a particular work setting or type of treatment, such as perioperative nurses, who work in operating rooms and assist surgeons. RNs also may choose to specialize in specific health conditions, as do diabetes management nurses, who assist patients to manage diabetes. Other RNs specialize in working with one or more organs or body system types, such as dermatology nurses, who work with patients who have skin disorders. RNs also can choose to work with a well-defined population, such as geriatric nurses, who work with the elderly. Some RNs may combine specialties. For example, pediatric oncology nurses deal with children and adolescents who have cancer.

There are many options for RNs who specialize in a work setting or type of treatment. Ambulatory care nurses provide preventive care and treat patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries in physicians’ offices or in clinics. Some ambulatory care nurses are involved in telehealth, providing care and advice through electronic communications media such as videoconferencing, the Internet, or by telephone. Critical care nurses provide care to patients with serious, complex, and acute illnesses or injuries that require very close monitoring and extensive medication protocols and therapies. Critical care nurses often work in critical or intensive care hospital units. Emergency, or trauma, nurses work in hospital or stand-alone emergency departments, providing initial assessments and care for patients with life-threatening conditions. Some emergency nurses may become qualified to serve as transport nurses, who provide medical care to patients who are transported by helicopter or airplane to the nearest medical facility. Holistic nurses provide care such as acupuncture, massage and aroma therapy, and biofeedback, which are meant to treat patients’ mental and spiritual health in addition to their physical health. Home health care nurses provide at-home nursing care for patients, often as follow-up care after discharge from a hospital or from a rehabilitation, long-term care, or skilled nursing facility. Hospice and palliative care nurses provide care, most often in home or hospice settings, focused on maintaining quality of life for terminally ill patients. Infusion nurses administer medications, fluids, and blood to patients through injections into patients’ veins. Long- term care nurses provide health care services on a recurring basis to patients with chronic physical or mental disorders, often in long-term care or skilled nursing facilities. Medical-surgical nurses provide health promotion and basic medical care to patients with various medical and surgical diagnoses. Occupational health nurses seek to prevent job-related injuries and illnesses, provide monitoring and emergency care services, and help employers implement health and safety standards. Perianesthesia nurses provide preoperative and postoperative care to patients undergoing anesthesia during surgery or other procedure. Perioperative nurses assist surgeons by selecting and handling instruments, controlling bleeding, and suturing incisions. Some of these nurses also can specialize in plastic and reconstructive surgery. Psychiatric-mental health nurses treat patients with personality and mood disorders. Radiology nurses provide care to patients undergoing diagnostic radiation procedures such as ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging, and radiation therapy for oncology diagnoses. Rehabilitation nurses care for patients with temporary and permanent disabilities. Transplant nurses care for both transplant recipients and living donors and monitor signs of organ rejection.

RNs specializing in a particular disease, ailment, or health care condition are employed in virtually all work settings, including physicians’ offices, outpatient treatment facilities, home health care agencies, and hospitals. Addictions nurses care for patients seeking help with alcohol, drug, tobacco, and other addictions. Intellectual and developmental disabilities nurses provide care for patients with physical, mental, or behavioral disabilities; care may include help with feeding, controlling bodily functions, sitting or standing independently, and speaking or other communication. Diabetes management nurses help diabetics to manage their disease by teaching them proper nutrition and showing them how to test blood sugar levels and administer insulin injections. Genetics nurses provide early detection screenings, counseling, and treatment of patients with genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease. HIV/AIDS nurses care for patients diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. Oncology nurses care for patients with various types of cancer and may assist in the administration of radiation and chemotherapies and follow-up monitoring. Wound, ostomy, and continence nurses treat patients with wounds caused by traumatic injury, ulcers, or arterial disease; provide postoperative care for patients with openings that allow for alternative methods of bodily waste elimination; and treat patients with urinary and fecal incontinence.

RNs specializing in treatment of a particular organ or body system usually are employed in hospital specialty or critical care units, specialty clinics, and outpatient care facilities. Cardiovascular nurses treat patients with coronary heart disease and those who have had heart surgery, providing services such as postoperative rehabilitation. Dermatology nurses treat patients with disorders of the skin, such as skin cancer and psoriasis. Gastroenterology nurses treat patients with digestive and intestinal disorders, including ulcers, acid reflux disease, and abdominal bleeding. Some nurses in this field also assist in specialized procedures such as endoscopies, which look inside the gastrointestinal tract using a tube equipped with a light and a camera that can capture images of diseased tissue. Gynecology nurses provide care to women with disorders of the reproductive system, including endometriosis, cancer, and sexually transmitted diseases. Nephrology nurses care for patients with kidney disease caused by diabetes, hypertension, or substance abuse. Neuroscience nurses care for patients with dysfunctions of the nervous system, including brain and spinal cord injuries and seizures. Ophthalmic nurses provide care to patients with disorders of the eyes, including blindness and glaucoma, and to patients undergoing eye surgery. Orthopedic nurses care for patients with muscular and skeletal problems, including arthritis, bone fractures, and muscular dystrophy. Otorhinolaryngology nurses care for patients with ear, nose, and throat disorders, such as cleft palates, allergies, and sinus disorders. Respiratory nurses provide care to patients with respiratory disorders such as asthma, tuberculosis, and cystic fibrosis. Urology nurses care for patients with disorders of the kidneys, urinary tract, and male reproductive organs, including infections, kidney and bladder stones, and cancers.

RNs who specialize by population provide preventive and acute care in all health care settings to the segment of the population in which they specialize, including newborns (neonatology), children and adolescents (pediatrics), adults, and the elderly (gerontology or geriatrics). RNs also may provide basic health care to patients outside of health care settings in such venues as including correctional facilities, schools, summer camps, and the military. Some RNs travel around the United States and abroad providing care to patients in areas with shortages of health care workers.

Most RNs work as staff nurses as members of a team providing critical health care . However, some RNs choose to become advanced practice nurses, who work independently or in collaboration with physicians, and may focus on the provision of primary care services. Clinical nurse specialists provide direct patient care and expert consultations in one of many nursing specialties, such as psychiatric-mental health. Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia and related care before and after surgical, therapeutic, diagnostic and obstetrical procedures. They also provide pain management and emergency services, such as airway management. Nurse-midwives provide primary care to women, including gynecological exams, family planning advice, prenatal care, assistance in labor and delivery, and neonatal care. Nurse practitioners serve as primary and specialty care providers, providing a blend of nursing and health care services to patients and families. The most common specialty areas for nurse practitioners are family practice, adult practice, women’s health, pediatrics, acute care, and geriatrics. However, there are a variety of other specialties that nurse practitioners can choose, including neonatology and mental health. Advanced practice nurses can prescribe medications in all States and in the District of Columbia.

Some nurses have jobs that require little or no direct patient care, but still require an active RN license. Case managers ensure that all of the medical needs of patients with severe injuries and severe or chronic illnesses are met. Forensics nurses participate in the scientific investigation and treatment of abuse victims, violence, criminal activity, and traumatic accident. Infection control nurses identify, track, and control infectious outbreaks in health care facilities and develop programs for outbreak prevention and response to biological terrorism. Legal nurse consultants assist lawyers in medical cases by interviewing patients and witnesses, organizing medical records, determining damages and costs, locating evidence, and educating lawyers about medical issues. Nurse administrators supervise nursing staff, establish work schedules and budgets, maintain medical supply inventories, and manage resources to ensure high-quality care. Nurse educators plan, develop, implement, and evaluate educational programs and curricula for the professional development of student nurses and RNs. Nurse informaticists manage and communicate nursing data and information to improve decision making by consumers, patients, nurses, and other health care providers. RNs also may work as health care consultants, public policy advisors, pharmaceutical and medical supply researchers and salespersons, and medical writers and editors.

Work environment. Most RNs work in well-lighted, comfortable health care facilities. Home health and public health nurses travel to patients’ homes, schools, community centers, and other sites. RNs may spend considerable time walking, bending, stretching, and standing. Patients in hospitals and nursing care facilities require 24-hour care; consequently, nurses in these institutions may work nights, weekends, and holidays. RNs also may be on call—available to work on short notice. Nurses who work in offices, schools, and other settings that do not provide 24-hour care are more likely to work regular business hours. About 21 percent of RNs worked part time in 2006, and 7 percent held more than one job.

Nursing has its hazards, especially in hospitals, nursing care facilities, and clinics, where nurses may be in close contact with individuals who have infectious diseases and with toxic, harmful, or potentially hazardous compounds, solutions, and medications. RNs must observe rigid, standardized guidelines to guard against disease and other dangers, such as those posed by radiation, accidental needle sticks, chemicals used to sterilize instruments, and anesthetics. In addition, they are vulnerable to back injury when moving patients, shocks from electrical equipment, and hazards posed by compressed gases. RNs also may suffer emotional strain from caring for patients suffering unrelieved intense pain, close personal contact with patients’ families, the need to make critical decisions, and ethical dilemmas and concerns.

Related Occupations

Sources: Career Guide to Industries (CGI), Occupational Information Network (O*Net), Occupation Outlook Handbook (OOH)
Earnings

Median annual earnings of registered nurses were $57,280 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $47,710 and $69,850. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $40,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $83,440. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of registered nurses in May 2006 were:

Employment services $64,260
General medical and surgical hospitals 58,550
Home health care services 54,190
Offices of physicians 53,800
Nursing care facilities 52,490

Many employers offer flexible work schedules, child care, educational benefits, and bonuses.

For the latest wage information:

The above wage data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey program, unless otherwise noted. For the latest National, State, and local earnings data, visit the following pages:

  • Registered nurses
  • Job Outlook

    Overall job opportunities for registered nurses are expected to be excellent, but may vary by employment and geographic setting. Employment of RNs is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016 and, because the occupation is very large, many new jobs will result. In fact, registered nurses are projected to generate 587,000 new jobs, among the largest number of new jobs for any occupation. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of job openings will result from the need to replace experienced nurses who leave the occupation.

    Employment change. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 23 percent from 2006 to 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by technological advances in patient care, which permit a greater number of health problems to be treated, and by an increasing emphasis on preventive care. In addition, the number of older people, who are much more likely than younger people to need nursing care, is projected to grow rapidly.

    However, employment of RNs will not grow at the same rate in every industry. The projected growth rates for RNs in the industries with the highest employment of these workers are:

    Percent
    Offices of physicians 39
    Home health care services 39
    Outpatient care centers, except mental health and substance abuse 34
    Employment services 27
    General medical and surgical hospitals, public and private 22
    Nursing care facilities 20

    Employment is expected to grow more slowly in hospitals—health care’s largest industry—than in most other health care industries. While the intensity of nursing care is likely to increase, requiring more nurses per patient, the number of inpatients (those who remain in the hospital for more than 24 hours) is not likely to grow by much. Patients are being discharged earlier, and more procedures are being done on an outpatient basis, both inside and outside hospitals. Rapid growth is expected in hospital outpatient facilities, such as those providing same-day surgery, rehabilitation, and chemotherapy.

    More and more sophisticated procedures, once performed only in hospitals, are being performed in physicians’ offices and in outpatient care centers, such as freestanding ambulatory surgical and emergency centers. Accordingly, employment is expected to grow very fast in these places as health care in general expands.

    Employment in nursing care facilities is expected to grow because of increases in the number of elderly, many of whom require long-term care. However, this growth will be relatively slower than in other health care industries because of the desire of patients to be treated at home or in residential care facilities, and the increasing availability of that type of care. The financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients as soon as possible should produce more admissions to nursing and residential care facilities and to home health care. Job growth also is expected in units that provide specialized long-term rehabilitation for stroke and head injury patients, as well as units that treat Alzheimer’s victims.

    Employment in home health care is expected to increase rapidly in response to the growing number of older persons with functional disabilities, consumer preference for care in the home, and technological advances that make it possible to bring increasingly complex treatments into the home. The type of care demanded will require nurses who are able to perform complex procedures.

    Rapid employment growth in employment services industry is expected as hospitals, physician’s offices, and other health care establishments utilize temporary workers to fill short-term staffing needs. And as the demand for nurses grows, temporary nurses will be needed more often, further contributing to employment growth in this industry.

    Job prospects. Overall job opportunities are expected to be excellent for registered nurses. Employers in some parts of the country and in certain employment settings report difficulty in attracting and retaining an adequate number of RNs, primarily because of an aging RN workforce and a lack of younger workers to fill positions. Enrollments in nursing programs at all levels have increased more rapidly in the past few years as students seek jobs with stable employment. However, many qualified applicants are being turned away because of a shortage of nursing faculty. The need for nursing faculty will only increase as many instructors near retirement. Many employers also are relying on foreign-educated nurses to fill vacant positions.

    Even though overall employment opportunities for all nursing specialties are expected to be excellent, they can vary by employment setting. Despite the slower employment growth in hospitals, job opportunities should still be excellent because of the relatively high turnover of hospital nurses. RNs working in hospitals frequently work overtime and night and weekend shifts and also treat seriously ill and injured patients, all of which can contribute to stress and burnout. Hospital departments in which these working conditions occur most frequently—critical care units, emergency departments, and operating rooms—generally will have more job openings than other departments. To attract and retain qualified nurses, hospitals may offer signing bonuses, family-friendly work schedules, or subsidized training. A growing number of hospitals also are experimenting with online bidding to fill open shifts, in which nurses can volunteer to fill open shifts at premium wages. This can decrease the amount of mandatory overtime that nurses are required to work.

    Although faster employment growth is projected in physicians’ offices and outpatient care centers, RNs may face greater competition for these positions because they generally offer regular working hours and more comfortable working environments. There also may be some competition for jobs in employment services, despite a high rate of employment growth, because a large number of workers are attracted by the industry’s relatively high wages and the flexibility of the work in this industry.

    Generally, RNs with at least a bachelor’s degree will have better job prospects than those without a bachelor’s. In addition, all four advanced practice specialties—clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, and nurse anesthetists—will be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas. Relative to physicians, these RNs increasingly serve as lower-cost primary care providers.

    Employment

    As the largest health care occupation, registered nurses held about 2.5 million jobs in 2006. Hospitals employed the majority of RNs, with 59 percent of jobs. Other industries also employed large shares of workers. About 8 percent of jobs were in offices of physicians, 5 percent in home health care services, 5 percent in nursing care facilities, 4 percent in employment services, and 3 percent in outpatient care centers. The remainder worked mostly in government agencies, social assistance agencies, and educational services. About 21 percent of RNs worked part time.

    Knowledge
    • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
    • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
    • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
    • 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.
    • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
    Skills
    • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
    • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
    • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
    • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
    • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
    Abilities
    • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
    • Stamina — The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
    • Explosive Strength — The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.
    • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
    • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
    Tasks
    • Supplemental — Prescribe or recommend drugs, medical devices or other forms of treatment, such as physical therapy, inhalation therapy, or related therapeutic procedures.
    • Supplemental — Observe nurses and visit patients to ensure proper nursing care.
    • Supplemental — Direct and coordinate infection control programs, advising and consulting with specified personnel about necessary precautions.
    • Core — Assess the needs of individuals, families or communities, including assessment of individuals' home or work environments to identify potential health or safety problems.
    • Supplemental — Perform administrative and managerial functions, such as taking responsibility for a unit's staff, budget, planning, and long-range goals.
    Activities
    • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
    • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
    • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
    • Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment — Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.
    • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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    A CareerBuilder Confidential Client - IL - Bloomington - posted 4 days ago
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